Researchers from the Hirslanden Clinic in Switzerland apparently found high counts of bacteria in men's beards. According to them "[...] dogs can be considered as clean, compared with bearded men." and almost 40% of the tested men had so much beard bacteria, there was a risk of them getting sick.
In addition to that the BBC stated that it actually might be better to shave off your beard and we say STOP! ✋🏻
We are pretty sure the "tested men" had an enormous lack of personal hygiene.
Beard-lovers around the world, fear not, because the Beard Liberation Front has your back. "I think it's possible to find all sorts of unpleasant things if you took swabs from people's hair and hands and then tested them," Keith Flett, founder of the Beard Liberation Front, a real group that exists in Britain. "I don't believe that beards in themselves are unhygienic." Flett also suggested that the negative press about facial hair might be motivated by pogonophobia, a.k.a the fear of beards. (source www.oprahmag.com)
Of course you have to take care of your beard just like any other part of your body. And if you do so, there can be several benefits that come with having a beard. Here are 5 if them:
1 - It brings a natural SPF to your face
According to researchers from the University of Southern Queensland beards are able to block up to 95 percent of the sun's harmful UV rays. It can even reduce sun damage and even a man's risk of contracting skin cancer.
2 - It can hold off throat decease
A beard can help keep airborne bacteria out of your mouth, which assists in protecting your throat. Dr. Addison P. Dutcher states in his book Pulmonary Tuberculosis: Its Pathology, Nature, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Prognosis, Causes, Hygiene, and Medical Treatment from 1875: "There cannot be the least doubt that the beard, and the hairs that grow in the nostrils, were designed by nature to guard the lungs from the invasion of these deleterious particles. Such being the use of the beard, individuals engaged in employments where the air is constantly filled with particles of fine dust should never shave. I have come to this conclusion from a careful observation of the effect of wearing the beard and of shaving upon the air passages and lungs. And I could, if space allowed, record many cases of throat and lung-diseases that have been permanently cured by wearing a beard."
3 - It can help people with bronchial asthma
Similar to the prevention of throat disease, beards provide another obstacle between your body and toxic exposures. If you experience a respiratory condition similar to allergies, a beard creates a filter before toxins make their way into your lungs.
4 - It can prevent you from getting bacterial infections
Beards add an extra layer of protection to your face. While bacteria naturally exists on the skin, shaving can create openings that bring in the bacteria and lead to infections and ingrown hairs. Not shaving can also reduce acne flare-ups.
According to the book The Acne Cure, by Terry J. Dubrow and Brenda D. Adderly, shaving can bring on acne breakouts, worsen existing acne and contribute to acne-related skin infections, per an article on Livestrong.com quoting the book.
5 - It improves your... ehm... sex life
An anonymous 1970s study, quoted in the book "The Dependent Gene", found a correlation between beard growth and the potential for sex. "The stimulus for increased beard growth is related to the resumption of sexual activity," the author of the experiment found, after spending extensive periods in isolation. When the likelihood of a sexual encounter increases so does testosterone secretion, which may impact beard growth, the book analyzes.
According to a 2008 study carried out by psychologists at Northumbria University, "women ... rated men with stubble as tough, mature, aggressive, dominant and masculine -- and as the best romantic partners, either for a fling or a long-term relationships," per the Telegraph.
Further quoting from the researchers in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, the Telegraph notes: "Facial hair, or beardedness, is a powerful sociosexual signal, and an obvious biological marker of sexual maturity."