Why Do Asians Have Less Body Hair? (2023)

Why Do Asians Have Less Body Hair? (1)

Generally, humans differ in multiple ways, such as height, skin complexion to immune systems.

Though some physical characteristics probably became widespread by chance, others gave some ethnicities an evolutionary advantage by natural selection.

For instance, it’s still quite a mystery why some Asians have less body hair, though a few theories have popped up over time.

Asians have less body hair because of their lower androgenic levels (stronger tolerance towards testosterone), their unique EDAR gene mutation, their variant Y-Chromosomes, and their quick adaptation to cold climate and warm environments clothing during ancient times.

The rest of this article will explore the proven and unproven theories related to this question in greater detail, digging deeper into the theories’ historical relevance and biological significance, and maybe debunk why Asians tend to have less body and facial hair, in a general sense.

Theory 1: Climate and Environmental Factors

On the whole, hair protects the skin in a sandy environment. And while sand increases friction on your skin, hair decreases it.

This could be a probable theory as to why people from deserts are hairier. On the other hand, East Asians tend to have less body hair, and their climate could be a contributing factor.

The theory is that since some parts of Asia are colder than others, it could have been an evolutionary deterrent to body hair.

The idea is that cold environments don’t suit body hair as it attracts water particles, which can freeze on you, which isn’t ideal for warmth.

However, climatic zones drastically changed during man’s history, and ancient Asians lived in a much colder environment. Furthermore, Asians are not the only ones with little body hair.

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The indigenous people of America also have less body hair. This could be theorized that they could be descendants of Asian people that migrated to America over the Bering Land-bridge during the ice age.

In the same light, some anthropologists believe that most Chinese, Japanese, Pacific Islanders, and Eskimos evolved to have less hair to keep clean while wearing heavy clothes and furs during the ice age.

It is believed that some races maintained less hair than others, primarily due to how early they adopted clothing to deal with their climate. Humans that have long lived in climates that necessitated clothing for warmth have been losing body hair for more generations.

It’s highly probable that those ancient Asians had to contend with Himalayan cold and higher latitudes, which required them to adopt clothing very early to survive.

In principle, having less hair allowed ancient Asians to keep clean for longer periods without bathing.

Another theory related to climate and environmental factors is the water-ape-theory.

Some scientists believe that mankind lived for a while in water at a point or at least spent a good amount of their time in it. Practically, in water, furry skin is not required, as demonstrated by aquatic mammals.

So, it is possible that some ancient Asians spent a lot of time around water, and thus evolved to have less body hair.

As a stark contrast, this could explain why Arabians became hairy since they lived in sandy environments.

Another probable theory is that people from the Middle East didn’t need much clothing until desertification, since climate change altered their Mediterranean climate.

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This resulted in a much harsher environment than it is today. This could explain why people from Mediterranean countries are often some of the hairiest since the lack of dramatic temperature variations meant that they never needed much clothing.

Theory 2: Androgenic Levels

As we continue the journey into the mystery of Asian body hair, another theory concerns Androgenic levels. Androgens, including testosterone, are the primary hormones that give men their male characteristics.

In essence, an Androgen deficiency means the body has lower levels of male sex hormones, particularly testosterone.

Furthermore, as androgen levels rise, more vellus hairs in the androgen-sensitive areas are converted into terminal hairs, leading to hirsutism. Hirsutism affects 70-80% of women with androgen excess.

So, Androgens prolong the growth phase of hair and promote vellus hair’s conversion to terminal hair.

It is believed that Asian men have less enzymes that convert testosterone into dihydrotestosterone. Ultimately, Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a form of testosterone that has a stronger virilizing effect on men.

This is because it has three times greater affinity to the androgen receptor than regular testosterone.

Stimulation of androgen-sensitive hair follicles is mediated by dihydrotestosterone (DHT) formed in these tissues by an alpha-reduction of testosterone.

This is a possible reason for increased body hair in some ethnic groups. Therefore, reduced tissue levels of DHT can result in less body hair.

Some studies have also shown that East Asian populations have lower androgen markers than Caucasians, which could explain why Caucasian people are generally hairier than the Chinese or Japanese, even though testosterone levels are similar.

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So, the average Chinese man could have less facial and chest hair than an age-matched Caucasian man due to reduced testosterone conversion to DHT.

However, the core difference could be how sensitive their hair follicles are to those testosterone levels, in theory.

Theory 3: EDAR Gene Mutation

Theoretically, many of the distinguishing features of Asian people have lately been linked to a single gene mutation.

Some scientists found the EDAR gene mutation to be common in many East Asia populations. This Mutation was found in a gene for the ectodysplasin receptor or EDAR.

Thus signaling a pathway uncover the mysteries behind the development of hair, sweat glands, and other skin features.

So, they discovered that while human populations in Africa and Europe had one ancestral version of the gene, most East Asians had a derived variant, EDARV370A.

Scientists believe that Mutation occurred about 35,000 years ago in China and affects multiple bodily aspects, such as body hair.

Scientists found that Asian people with EDAR370A tended to have thicker hair fibers and more sweat glands on their fingers – theorizing that these traits could have arisen when EDAR 370A emerged.

Scientists also believe that as the EDAR gene attained higher frequency in an environment that was cold and dry, it could have fostered increased glandular secretions to achieve increased lubrication and reduced evaporation from exposed facial structures and upper airways.

This could have resulted in thicker hair, which is more sparse or lower hair density.

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This could explain why many East Asians appear to have less body and facial hair.

Furthermore, some scientists think added sweat glands were a key driving factor for fixing the Mutation in the population.

However, it’s also possible the lower amounts of body hair were also sexually selected over time.

However, it’s still scientifically unclear why EDAR 370A was beneficial. It’s possible that the extra sweat glands could have them keep cool in the warm and humid Chinese climate.

Theory 4: Y-Chromosome Variation

Our final theory relates to the Y-Chromosome and the cold climate. Again, these are all hypothetical and not fully proven.

That said, there is a hypothesis that Y-chromosome Asians were trapped in a quasi-polar environment during the Ice Age.

Consequently, they are said to have evolved narrow eyelids to block UV radiation reflecting off the snow.

Furthermore, they are believed to have evolved to sweat less as sweating in polar conditions was technically a death sentence.

As a result, they are believed to have later evolved to have less body hair.


Scientists have not yet fully figured out exactly why some Asians are hairier than others. Typically, most point to environment or temperature, while others point to a stronger tolerance towards testosterone and genetic markers.

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For now, it remains quite a mystery as to why most people of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and European descent tend to have more body and facial hair, while those of East Asian, Central Asian, or South-East Asian ancestry tend to have less.


Is it true that Asians have less body hair? ›

Asians have shorter, straighter, thinner, and less body hair than Caucasians and black individuals. Since a case reported by Itin et al. in 1994, research studies of knotted body hair have rarely been reported.

What race is the least hairy? ›

Oriental peoples have the least amount of noticeable hair; Southern European and Mediterranean groups, the most. Black people have more hair than Orientals but less than Northern Europeans and Scandinavians. There are also sexual differences. Men tend to be hairier than women, and have the ability to grow a beard.

Why are East Asians so hairless? ›

Why don't most East Asian men have much or any facial hair? Genetics mostly, while most groups by default have body and facial hair, the oriental form that evolved around the Huang He of China actually reduced it's body and facial hair, essentially it became more hairless.

Why do most Asians not grow beards? ›

It has been proven that the levels of DHT and testosterone affect the growth of the hair on the face. And as they struggle to grow a full beard Asian men's levels of testosterone are believed to be lower.

What race has a lot of body hair? ›

According to Personal Health via the New York Times, Caucasians are the hairiest ethnic group, with Semitic and Mediterranean people being the hairiest out of all Caucasians.

Why do Asians look younger? ›

Traditionally, Asians have been thought to age more gracefully than Caucasians. The resistance to aging in the Asian patient was credited to the thicker dermis of Asian skin that contains greater collagen and the darker pigment that protects against photoaging.

What race is less likely to bald? ›

While studies have suggested almost all Caucasian men will eventually face some degree of male pattern baldness -- and around half can expect to lose their hair by middle age -- Asian men, and East Asians in particular, have historically experienced the lowest incidence of hair loss in the world.

Why are Asians less hairy? ›

this actually goes back 35,000 years ago from a genetic mutation. the EDAR gene which is the gene that is responsible for developing the skin. was actually found to be mutated in Asians. this gene is responsible for making a protein that creates hair.

What races don't grow facial hair? ›


Your originality can affect the growth pattern of your facial hair [1]. A study on The male beard hair and facial skin – challenges for shaving reveal that Chinese, Mexican, and Native American men tend to have less facial hair than Caucasian men [2].

Can Asians have blue eyes? ›

There are plenty of blue-eyed Asians. This probably happens when the traditional blue-eyed allele comes into a family from a (possibly very distant) European ancestor. Blue eyes then resurface in a child generations later if they inherit the allele from both parents.

Do Asians need deodorant? ›

The A allele is very common in East Asians, and as expected, most people in this population don't need to use deodorant. And so they don't use it—it's estimated that only 7% of North East Asians regularly use deodorant.

What culture has the most body hair? ›

What race has the most hair on their body? The Caucasian ethnicity has the most hair, primarily the Mediterranean and Semitic groups. The Asians and Indians are on the other side of the spectrum, with the least hairs on their heads and bodies, while the remaining ethnicities fall in between.

What ethnicity has a hard time growing facial hair? ›


According to a 2016 study , Chinese men generally have less facial hair growth than Caucasian men. Facial hair growth in Chinese men tends to concentrate around the mouth while Caucasian men tend to have more hair on the cheeks, neck, and chin.

Which race grows the thickest beards? ›

Caucasians and African Americans can usually grow thicker beards, while Asian men have a harder time developing a full beard.

Why do Koreans have no beard? ›

The aversion of Korean men to beards has its roots in Korean history. According to the pictures of ancient Korean emperors, the Koreans grew beards. However, it has changed through the centuries. During the Joseon Era, around the 14th century, it was considered offensive to harm the body and its parts, including hair.

What race has the strongest hair? ›

The density of asian hair is lower than the other ethnic groups. They have the longest cycle of growth. Their hair grows straight and almost perpendicular to scalp, the cuticle is the thickest. They have the strongest hair, so it grows fast.

Why are Asians skin so good? ›

Asians have thicker skin because we have a thicker dermis due to larger and more numerous collagen-producing cells (known as fibroblasts) in this second layer of our skin. All those extra fibroblasts produce extra collagen which helps to preserve our skin's elasticity.

Why do Asians get red when they drink? ›

More than one in three people with East Asian heritage (Chinese, Japanese and Korean) experience facial flushing when drinking beer, wine or spirits. In Asian populations, it is due to an inherited deficiency in one of the enzymes involved in the breakdown of alcohol: aldehyde dehydrogenase.

What ethnicity goes bald the most? ›

In general, however, the highest rates of male pattern baldness are found among Caucasian men. The second highest rates belong to Afro-Caribbeans. Native Americans, on the other hand, do not struggle much with male pattern baldness. As mentioned, pattern baldness is genetic, that is, hereditary.

What nationality goes bald the most? ›

While the numbers are different according to different surveys, it appears that either Greece, Macedonia, or the Czech Republic has the highest rate of baldness in the world. These nations each have over 40% of men with acute hair loss.

What race of men go bald the most? ›

There are also differences among ethnicities in the rate of male pattern hair loss. According to Men's Health, the highest rate of hair loss was found among Caucasians, followed by Afro-Caribbeans. Asian men had the lowest rate.

Do Asians have the thickest hair? ›

Although the total cuticle layers are significantly thicker in Asians, the thickness of one layer is particularly similar between the two ethnicities. A recent study with larger samples agreed that Asian hair has a higher median cuticle thickness than Caucasian and African hair.

Do East Asians have the thickest hair? ›

Geneticists at the University of Tokyo and several other institutions in Japan, Thailand, and Indonesia have now used the HapMap to explore why Japanese and Chinese people have thick hair: The cross-sectional area of East Asian hair fibers averages about 30% larger than that of Africans and 50% larger than that of ...

Do Asians age slower? ›

Asian skin has a thicker dermis than white skin, meaning it contains more collagen. Research from 2019 noted that Asian females may not notice wrinkles until they reach their 50s. Loss of connective tissue will not occur at the same speed for all people in these racial groups.

Why didn't Native Americans have beards? ›

Native Americans do not appear to have facial hair because they are not genetically predisposed to growing thick hair everywhere on their bodies. And, no. It is not because of ethnicity, as a matter of fact, Native Americans do have facial hair, but it is very soft and sparse.

Can Chinese guys grow beards? ›

Not a lot of Asian guys have facial hair and/or beards. A fairly obvious statement, but based on the findings of the survey: Only 28% have a mustache, goatee, beard, or some other form of facial hair. Only 8% have a beard.

Can black men grow beard? ›

Many black men expect their beard to be thick and full within weeks of their last shave and the truth is, that's an unrealistic expectation to have. The reality is that facial hair growth takes time and patience. To grow a healthy beard requires dedication and consistency in your beard care routine.

What is the rarest eye color? ›

How many eye colors are there, and why your shade is unique to you. At some point, you've probably wondered what the rarest eye color is. The answer is green, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Only about 2 percent of the world's population sport this shade.

What race has the most blue eyes? ›

Scientists believe that it is possible to trace all blue-eyed people back to a common ancestor, who likely had a genetic mutation that reduced the amount of melanin in the iris. Most people with blue eyes are of European descent.

Can Asians have GREY eyes? ›

Gray eyes can also be found among the Algerian Shawia people of the Aurès Mountains in Northwest Africa, in the Middle East/West Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia.

Do Asians have different earwax? ›

Earwax comes in two types, wet and dry. The wet form predominates in Africa and Europe, where 97 percent or more of the people have it, and the dry form among East Asians, while populations of Southern and Central Asia are roughly half and half.

Do Japanese people not sweat? ›

Japanese people tend to sweat less and have a weak body odor. There is some quantifiable science behind this statement. The skin contains two types of sweat glands; the eccrine glands (that secrete through pores) and apocrine glands (which secrete through the hair follicles and hair).

Which nationality has the healthiest hair? ›

Japan, Spain and Sweden are widely known for having people with healthy hair, but there are also other countries like India, France and Russia that are also known for helping people keep their hair natural and not messing with any artificial coloring.

Where is body hair thickest? ›

Aprocrine glands have an abundance of hair follicles, which is why underarm hair can grow so thick. As for the rest of your body hair, the hair is rooted in eccrine sweat glands, which primarily control temperature. Hair follicles are more dispersed here, so it's much finer.

What ethnicity has the thickest hair in the world? ›

Caucasian hair usually appears thicker since it is more difficult to see through the scalp than other ethnic hair types. However, Asian hair is the thickest and coarsest hair of any ethnic group.

What race grows facial hair faster? ›

Asian hair, the most common type in the world, is the fastest growing hair. Asian hair growth averages around . 5 inches per month whereas African American hair growth hovers somewhere around . 3 inches per month.

Why do some men have little body hair? ›

The individual occurrence and characteristics of chest hair depend on the genetic disposition, the hormonal status and the age of the person. The genes primarily determine the amount, patterns and thickness of chest hair.

Do big beards mean more testosterone? ›

The results showed that beard length (directly measured and self-reported) was not related to testosterone levels or dominance; thus, no evidence was found to support the hypothesis that beards are honest (or dishonest) signals of the beard owners' testosterone levels and dominance.

Do men with thick beards have higher testosterone? ›

However, a new study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior has found no relationship between the amount of facial hair and self-perceived dominance in men and their testosterone levels.

Why do men have hairy chests? ›

Although vellus hair is already present in the area in childhood, chest hair is the terminal hair that develops as an effect of rising levels of androgens (primarily testosterone and its derivatives) due to puberty. Different from the head hair, it is therefore a secondary sexual characteristic.

Why doesn t Korea have deodorant? ›

As it turns out, a percentage of the population lack the gene that prevents stinky pits. According to researchers from the University of Bristol, that special gene is called ABCC11.

What countries ban beards? ›

Tajikistan. Beards are discouraged by the government for most men in Tajikistan in a stated effort to battle radicalism. Only clean-shaven men can apply for a passport.

Do Koreans have pubic hair? ›

Do Koreans have public hair? The report cited one Korean clinic estimating that 10 per cent of Korean women have pubic atrichosis, which means they lack pubic hair but are otherwise healthy. Many women suffer from psychological stress as pubic hair is seen as a sign of sexual health and fertility.

Do East Asians have less muscle? ›

Asian people tend to have less muscle mass, higher body fat with central distribution, and weaker handgrip strength. With aging, the decline rate in muscle strength or physical performance was more rapid than the concomitant loss of muscle mass.

What hair type do East Asians have? ›

* The shape of the follicle largely determines how hair grows. Because East Asian hair follicles are almost always completely round, they typically have very straight hair.

Why do East Asians not sweat? ›

Relevant paragraph from Wikipedia from the article on body odor below, but the TL;DR is that there's a gene called ABCC11 that is non-functional in 80 to 95 percent of East Asians. That allele determines both apocrine sweat gland size and activity, concentration of protein in apocrine sweat, and, oddly, wet-type vs.

Do East Asians have dry skin? ›

Asian skin also has few sebaceous glands, with a tendency to be very dry in certain areas, which accentuates their dull appearance. They have a delicate epidermis, making it ultra-reactive to the least external aggressions.

What race is the most muscular? ›

Ethnicity effects

Among the women, African Americans had the largest expected mean SM values, followed by Whites, Hispanics, and Asians. A similar pattern is present in men, in whom African American men had the largest SM and Whites the smallest SM estimates.

Do Asians have better skin? ›

The dermis is the deeper second skin layer which contains most of the collagen-producing cells and also contains blood vessels. Asians have thicker skin because we have a thicker dermis due to larger and more numerous collagen-producing cells (known as fibroblasts) in this second layer of our skin.

Why are Asians so good at math? ›

Chinese number systems are more regular.

Another math advantage of speakers of Asian languages is the way these languages organize number systems. Asian language number systems are often more intuitive than the English system.

What hair type is the rarest? ›

Hair type 1A is super-straight. It doesn't even hold a curl! 1A is the rarest hair type. It is usually found on people of Asian descent.

What race has the best hair type? ›

Caucasian, Asian and Indian hair samples were put to the test for the World's Best Hair study. Their results put an end to any splitting of hairs over the issue: in terms of health, the Indian hair is the best, topping other ethnic groups on all four counts.

Why is there no deodorant in Korea? ›

This study was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, and according to it, the gene is the only determinant of whether your underarm smell or not. What's interesting is that almost all Koreans lack the ABCC11 gene. In other words, they are “genetically mutated” to have stink-free pits.

Do Asians have dry earwax? ›

Earwax comes in two types, wet and dry. The wet form predominates in Africa and Europe, where 97 percent or more of the people have it, and the dry form among East Asians, while populations of Southern and Central Asia are roughly half and half.


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