Researcher Julian Oldmeadow of the Swinbourne University of Technology, said: ‘Facial hair may appeal to hostile sexist men because it maximises facial masculinity and augments perceived dominance.

‘Men holding more patriarchal views may be inclined to reinforce their masculinity and dominance by growing facial hair.’

Writing in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior (CORR), he said another explanation lies in the actions of testosterone.

Men with beards tend to have higher levels of the hormone and it is known to fuel aggression.