If you have a bearded man in your life–or if you yourself are in possession of a beard–you may want to brace yourself for this. A new study out of Switzerland has found that men with beards carry more germs in their facial hair than dogs carry in their fur.
As reported by the Daily Mail, the original aim of the study was to test whether humans could be infected with dog-borne illnesses via an MRI scanner that was also used by veterinarians. To test this, researchers took swabs from 18 men’s beards and 30 dogs’ necks.
“The researchers found a significantly higher bacterial load in specimens taken from the men’s beards compared with the dogs’ fur,” said Professor Andreas Gutzeit, of Switzerland’s Hirslanden Clinic. All of the bearded men’s swabs showed high levels of microbes, whereas only 23 out of the 30 dogs had similarly high counts. “On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean compared with bearded men,” Dr. Gutzeit added. Yikes.
Now, a couple of things to note here. Firstly, this was an extremely small study–as you can tell from the number of subjects tested–and as such its results should be taken with a pinch of salt. Secondly, if you’re a beard-haver or beard-lover, and you’re currently feeling attacked, fear not, because the Beard Liberation Front (a pro-beard campaign) 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 a fear of beards.
All in all, there’s just… a lot to process here.
source: The Oprah Magazine