Beards may contain bacteria which could potentially be developed into new antibiotics, a study has found.
Researchers found that clean-shaven men were actually more likely to harbour infection-causing bacteria resistant to antibiotics when compared to bearded men.
The study, published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, tested swabs from the faces of 408 hospital staff with and without facial hair.
According to the results, clean-shaven men are more than three times as likely to be carrying methicillin-resistant staph auerus (MRSA) on their cheeks as their bearded counterparts.
Clean-shaven men were also more than 10 per cent more likely to have colonies of Staphylococcus aureus on their faces, a bacterium that causes skin and respiratory infections, and food poisoning.
Researchers suggest this may be due to micro-abrasians caused by shaving in the skin, “which may support bacterial colonisation and proliferation”.
The report reads: “Overall, colonisation is similar in male healthcare workers with and without facial hair, however, certain bacterial species were more prevalent in workers without facial hair.”
Dr Adam Roberts, a microbiologist from University College London, was able to grow over 100 different bacteria from beard swab samples in a separate analysis.
Among the petri dishes, he found the presence of a microbe that appeared to be killing the other bacteria.
Dr Roberts isolated the microbe and tested it against a form of E. coli that causes urinary tract infections, and found the microbes killed the bacterium efficiently.
The next Movember, which is also known as No-Shave November, is still several months away. However, this does not mean that you should switch to a clean-shaven look, especially if you are interested in attracting the attention of a potential mate.
A scientific study conducted by the Official Journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society also indicated that specific types of facial hair have a major impact on how others perceive individuals with a beard.
Therefore, depending on your personal preferences, you might want to grow ayeard or stick with thick stubble.
So what type of beard is right for your lifestyle? That depends on which qualities you want to be associated with:
- Most Attractive – Female participants in studies that have analyzed male facial hair have rated heavy stubble as the most attractive look. Men equally enjoyed the appearance of heavy stubble or a full beard.
- Healthiest – Men and women indicated that men who have a full beard appear to be healthier than those without any type of facial hair.
- Best Parenting Skills – This was another category that both genders ascribed to men who maintain a full beard.
- Masculinity – The perception of a man’s masculinity increases with the amount of facial hair that he has. So if you want to be seen as a highly masculine individual, you should consider cultivating a full beard.
Men who are clean-shaven or who have a light amount of stubble were rated as being the least attractive by women and men.
Additionally, it is interesting to note that a heterosexual woman’s interest in masculine looking men becomes more pronounced during the ovulation portion of her fertility cycle. In other words, if you and your female spouse or partner have been trying to conceive or are dealing with intimacy issues, it could be beneficial to grow your facial hair out.
After all, increasing your level of attractiveness in your partner’s eyes is definitely a good way to boost their sex drive.
There are also scientifically proven health benefits associated with having a beard. 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, and this will reduce your risk of contracting skin cancer.
Men who suffer from asthma could experience some relief from symptoms by growing a beard because this will help prevent dust and pollen from getting into their respiratory system. As an added bonus, a full beard will keep your skin looking healthier and more youthful.
It sounds like it is time to toss out your razors, gentlemen, but make sure that you take steps to keep your beard in good shape so that you can look your best!