Why Do Men’s Beards Turn Red: Explained

Have you ever wondered why men’s beards turn red? It may seem like an odd occurrence, but there’s actually a scientific explanation to this phenomenon.

Melanin, the pigment that gives color to our hair and skin, responds to sunlight in a similar way for both. When exposed to UVA, the hair in the beard area can lighten and even turn red, just like how our skin can get darker with sun exposure.

Check out this Youtube video: “Is Your Beard Turning Red? [THIS IS WHY!!!] | Beard Care” to learn the fascinating reason behind why men’s beards turn red. You’ll be amazed by the surprising answer and gain some valuable beard care tips in the process.

The Science Behind It

Beard hair, just like hair on the head, is made up of proteins called keratin. The color of hair is determined by the production of melanin, a pigment produced by specialized cells called melanocytes.

For beard hair, a man only needs to have one copy of the mutated MC1R gene in order to have a red beard. A study in the UK showed that 40% of people in their study have one copy of the mutated gene.

This helps explain why ginger beards are much more common than red hair!

Additionally, melanin is produced in response to UVA (sunlight), and as with skin that darkens to protect itself from the sun, beard hair will turn a lighter shade, even red. How melanin affects beard hair color is dependent on various factors such as UV exposure, hormonal changes, and aging.

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Factors That Influence Beard Hair Color

Men’s beard hair color can change over time due to various factors such as sun exposure, hormonal changes, and aging.

Sun Exposure

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays contain UVA that stimulates the production of melanin in the skin to protect it from further damage, but it can also affect beard hair color. When beard hair is exposed to sunlight, it may turn lighter or even red due to the increased production of pheomelanin, a pigment responsible for red and yellow hues.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes can also affect beard hair color. Androgen, a male hormone, stimulates hair growth and can increase the pigmentation of beard hair.

However, as men age, their levels of androgen decrease, leading to a decrease in the production of melanin and a change in beard hair color.


As men age, their chances of having a lighter or reddish beard hair color increase due to the natural aging process. This is because the melanocyte stem cells that produce melanin gradually decrease with age, resulting in less pigmentation of beard hair.

Ultimately, several factors may play a role in why men’s beard hair color turns red or lighter, including sun exposure, hormonal changes, and aging.

Misconceptions about Red Beards

Many people believe that only men with naturally red hair can have red beards, but this is a common misconception. In fact, many men with different hair colors can develop red beards due to a genetic mutation in the MC1R gene.

Studies have shown that up to 40% of people have one copy of the mutated gene, which can result in red pigmentation in beard hair.

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Another misconception is that red beards are always patchy and uneven in color. While some men may experience patchiness in their beards, this is not necessarily related to the color of the hair.

In fact, red beards can be just as full and evenly colored as any other type of beard.

It’s important to understand that the development of red pigmentation in beard hair is largely determined by genetics, rather than external factors like sun exposure or harsh product use. By debunking these common myths, we can better understand the true nature of red beards and appreciate their unique beauty.

Cultural Significance

Red beards have been a significant part of popular culture for many years. Many fictional characters, like Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series, have been portrayed with red beards.

Other notable characters include the Norse god Thor, who is often depicted with a red beard in mythology.

Historically, red beards were considered a symbol of virility and masculinity in many cultures. For example, in ancient Greece, red hair was associated with the god of war, Ares.

Additionally, in Celtic culture, red hair was considered a mark of courage and bravery.


Jonathan B. Delfs

I love to write about men's lifestyle and fashion. Unique tips and inspiration for daily outfits and other occasions are what we like to give you at MensVenture.com. Do you have any notes or feedback, please write to me directly: [email protected]

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