Grow A Beard for Health Benefits
By: Matt Weik
Beards are in style currently and it seems people both young and old are into the trend—some old guys probably haven’t even got a clue that they are “hip” now. Has anyone ever thought about if there were health benefits associated with beards or if they were just for show (or the lazy)? New studies might actually make you want to throw your razor away.
What’s lurking in your facial hair?
Sure, there might be a little bit of lunch in our beard, so what? We’re keeping it for when we are hungry later. Don’t judge because you wish you had a place to store food on your person for later in the day when you get hungry rather than throwing away that last bit of your sandwich that you couldn’t finish. But in all seriousness, what if the things we are storing in our beard bring health benefits? A recent study might shed some light on the benefits.
London researchers gathered a group of bearded men (no sexist researchers, they just couldn’t find any bearded ladies over there), and swabbed their beards trying to find what lurks within. What they found out was that there were over 100 species of bacteria in the participants’ beards. I know what you’re thinking—GROSS. But wait… there’s more. Because bacteria needs space and food, they actually produce antibodies. Yup, the same things on your insides that keep you healthy and fight off illnesses. So what does this mean? It means that if you don a beard, you’re actually carrying bacteria that is helping to keep you healthy and ward off infections by killing off pathogens that enter through the air via your nose or mouth. Your facial hair actually acts as a filter to keep pathogens out.
Healthcare workers not so healthy?
We have all been to the doctor’s office or hospital in our lifetime. Some of us might have some interesting stories that go along with those visits. But what if I were to tell you that those doctors and nurses might be carrying bacteria that can do you harm. What?! But they are supposed to be sanitary! Even worse, you might be carrying it as well. It will make you rethink those clean-shaved pretty-boy faces of the healthcare practitioners. But don’t worry, they have tons of antibiotics they can prescribe to you.
The Journal of Hospital Infection did a study on beards with 408 healthcare workers. They took a group of participants with and without facial hair and swabbed them looking for pathogens. What they found was the group of healthcare workers that didn’t have facial hair carried more germs than those who had beards. To their surprise, they also found that those who shaved actually were more likely to be carrying MRSA. The researchers believe that it’s due to the act of shaving where guys are actually creating abrasions on their skin, causing bacteria to form. Professionals today don’t necessarily feel having a beard is the right look. But as science shows, they might be opening themselves up for sickness by not rocking a beard.
My bearded friends unite! Beards aren’t just for lazy guys and hipsters! We have scientific proof that our beards not only make us healthier, but they also make us look better than those who shave too! Ok, that last part isn’t scientific at all. Now throw away your razor and let the growth and health benefits commence!
Author: Matt Weik
Matt Weik, owner of Weik Fitness, LLC, is a well-respected fitness expert/author with a global following. His work has been featured in 85+ fitness magazines and 1,500+ websites. He’s also a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. You can contact Matt via www.weikfitness.com or on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @weikfitness.