The jury has long been out on whether men look better with or without beards, but a new study has found one thing regarding facial hair to be true — beards harbour more germs than dog fur.
Not just any germs either — potentially deadly germs.
Swiss scientists made the alarming discovery after taking swabs from the beards of 18 men and found every single sample was crawling with bacteria. Nearly half of the beards tested in the study carried germs that posed serious risk to human health.
The study conducted by Switzerland’s Hirslanden Clinic was looking into whether there was a risk of humans with facial hair picking-up dog-borne diseases.
By contrast, the number of dogs tested had lower levels of microbes.
The bearded men, aged from 18 to 76, showed high microbial counts, but only 23 out of the 30 dogs tested had high counts.
“On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean compared with bearded men,” Professor Andreas Gutzeit from the Hirslanden Clinic told the Mail on Sunday.
But some beard enthusiasts have hit back at the study’s findings.
Beard Liberation Front founder Keith Flett said beards were being unnecessarily targeted, suggesting pogonophobia was to blame – the fear or extreme dislike of beards.
“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,” Mr Flett told the Mail.
“I don’t believe that beards in themselves are unhygienic.
“There seems to be a constant stream of negative stories about beards that suggest it’s more about pogonophobia than anything else.”
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