Beards have been the subject of a great many discussions for the past couple of years. Ever since beards have resurfaced as a fashion choice, the world has been divided into three groups – beard lovers, beard haters, and those who really can’t be bothered to care either way. According to a new study from the BBC, beards might actually be good for your health.
Trust me, I’m a doctor
Ever since the invention of razors, or maybe even that of a shaving knife, people have been debating regarding which fashion style is better. Some are entranced by beards, while can’t stand them. Well, this study is going to give reasons to celebrate to Team Beard.
As part of the BBC’s “Trust Me, I’m a Doctor” series, a team of researchers performed an experiment to see if the argument that bacteria is lurking in your beard and is bad for you actually holds up.
For this, the team collected samples from the beards of 20 Londoners and sent the swabs down to the University College London to be looked at by microbiologists. Adam Roberts is the microbiologist that was tasked with studying the swabs, and he said that the results were quite interesting.
First of all, there were indeed a lot of bacteria present in the fellows’ beards; only it was regular bacteria, which you find living on the bare skin. So at first it appeared that there was nothing out of the ordinary except for an increased number of regular bacteria.
But upon further inspection, it turned out that the bacteria, having to compete for food, space, and resources, produced things like antibiotics. This means that the bacteria are actually helping fight off infections in bearded individuals.
Bearded vs. clean shaven
A similar study also took place in 2014, also showing favor to Team Beard. During the study, 408 healthcare workers, clean shaven and bearded, were swabbed for pathogens. It turned out that the scruffy looking nerf herders had far fewer germs than the freshly shaven ones.
Not only that, but the clean shaven group was also found to carry large amounts of methicillin-resistant staph aureus, or MRSA. This is most likely because of the micro-trauma suffered by the skin during the process of shaving, which actually supports bacterial colonization and propagation.
A similar event happens in freshly shaven surgery patients, which have a highly increased risk of developing an infection during or after the procedure.
Image source: Wikimedia