Is A Beard Good For Your Health?

There has always been plenty of controversy about whether having a beard is healthy or not. Some medical studies have discovered that beards can harbour dirt and dangerous bacteria whilst others have proved that beards can actually protect the skin against sun and wind damage and also skin cancer. Certainly aesthetically a beard can really change a man’s appearance and of course they are definitely trending this year. We bring you the arguments!

beard good for youThe Pros Of Having A Beard

A beard protects skin from the sun

There are several ways in which a beard can be protective against the sun, but these depend on its thickness.  UV rays can be harmful to the skin, but with a beard, up to 95% of the UV rays cannot penetrate the facial hair and those that do are successfully dispersed because the hair is reflective. Having a beard also prevents the sun from ageing the skin.

A beard can ease asthma

Beards and moustaches can be effective filters and prevent dust and pollen getting up the nose and into the body’s respiratory system. Some medical specialists believe that beards can also help protect against throat infections and colds too.

Helps keep you warm

An extra layer on your face and neck can make a noticeable difference in cold weather – the longer and thicker the beard, the better insulation!

beard good for youBeards help reduce infections

It is very easy to nick the skin while shaving or to get ingrown hairs and both of these can lead to bacterial skin infections.

I think that growing beard hair can actually be helpful for some people,” says University of Utah dermatologist Erika Summers MD“Irritant folliculitis, bacterial folliculitis and an inflammatory condition called pseudofolliculitis barbae can all occur in the beard area and are often precipitated by shaving. Since sporting facial hair means cutting out shaving, that removes a common trigger for these conditions’.

Beards help keep skin moisturised

The natural oils produced by the skin help to moisturise and soften it but very often, they are lost when the face is shaved. Having facial hair helps keep the oil in the skin as the skin is lighter washed in the shower or basin so the skin can remain softer and younger looking for longer.

beard good for youA beard makes a man more stylish

There have been many different studies conducted to discover what women really think about men with beards! Many find moderate, well kept beards really attractive and feel that the man has a strong character, while men with full, well kept beards are perceived as being protective and also better fathers

According to a recent survey, more than 60% of women say that they like when men have facial hair. And of those women, almost 45% say that they prefer a beard over just a moustache’  –

And The Cons….

Beards can trap bacteria

Certainly there have been many studies over the years to prove that a beard can trap dangerous bacteria. Pogonophobes (people who fear beards) felt justified in their fear following a study in New Mexico of randomly selected beards which found traces of enteric bacteria – usually found in faeces- in some of the beards, as one newspaper headline at the time proclaimed –  ‘”Some beards contain more poo than a toilet.”

An interesting study that questions these findings was published in the Journal of Hospital Infection five years ago. In the study, the faces of 408 hospital staff with and without facial hair were swabbed. The findings were reported on BBC television programme ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor’ –

beard good for youWe know that hospital-acquired infections are a major cause of disease and death in hospitals, with many patients acquiring an infection they didn’t have when they went in. Hands, white coats, ties and equipment have all been blamed, but what about beards?

Well, the researchers were surprised to find that it was the clean-shaven staff, and not the beardies, who were more likely to be carrying something unpleasant on their faces.

The beardless group were more than three times as likely to be harbouring a species known as methicillin-resistant staph aureus on their freshly shaven cheeks. MRSA is a particularly common and troublesome source of hospital-acquired infections because it is resistant to so many of our current antibiotics. –

So the jury is still out on this point, although the findings do point to the necessity of regularly washing and brushing your beard.

Beards can get dandruff

If a beard is not well maintained it can develop dandruff and often there is scaling of the skin face too. Using an antifungal shampoo should soon clear up the problem.

Beards cause ingrown hair follicles

It is true that occasionally beard growers can get ingrown hairs too. These bumps are called acne keloidalis and usually develop on the neck. Topical antibiotic cream is an effective treatment for the problem.

Beards can help pass viruses

A New York doctor on CBS News recently stated that germs could be passed by beards and-

beard good for youHe also said viruses could be passed from person to person via facial hair, making beards responsible for transmitting things like the flu. A second doctor said beards could trigger skin irritation and an infection known as folliculitis’. –

If you are planning to grow a beard, all the negatives can be avoided by keeping your beard really clean and healthy.

It will take at least one month to grow and it’s essential to keep brushing it to encourage the hair to grow in one direction and keep it clean. It’s also very important to wash your beard regularly with a moisturising shampoo and to moisturise the skin under your beard as the hair grows.

Your beard will grow really well if you are eating a healthy diet, are getting enough sleep and are not stressed.

A smart and well-cared for beard is definitely this years popular trend. Decide what style you would like your beard and get the right tools to help you to keep it looking good. Alternatively, why not plan to regularly visit your barber to keep your beard looking stylish?