Are Men’s Beards Dirtier Than Dog Fur?
You may have heard of a study done in 2018 that purported that men’s beards are dirtier than dog fur. The study conducted by Swiss researchers at the Hirslanden Clinic found that there was more harmful bacteria in men’s beards than in dog fur. Whoa! Now, we might be tempted to accuse Swiss men of being unkempt or their dog grooming skills to be on point, but we might want to look deeper into the facts.
The clinic didn’t set out to study this phenomenon. Rather, they were looking to discover if men could contract dog diseases from an MRI machine shared by veterinarians. Researchers tested swabs from 18 men (aged 18-76) and 30 canines (age undeclared). Every single man in the study had high microbial counts while only 23 of the canines showed similar counts. Just under half of the men (7) had levels of harmful bacteria that could make them sick. Even the swabs of the MRI machine showed higher bacterial counts after human use rather than dog use.
That is sure to make us ask some questions. Should all go clean-shaven? Forget “No Shave” November? Relegate duck dynasty beards to the past? Not so fast. A deeper dive into the data shows that the types and amount of bacteria found in beards isn’t much different than those found on our clean-shaven brethren.
All skin and hair contains a certain amount of bacteria. The Swiss study found staphylococcus and enterococcus in the beards of participants. These common bacteria found on the human body are usually harmless unless they enter the bloodstream through cuts or other openings. So, finding them in the MRI study isn’t unexpected.
A 2014 study looked at the bearded health care workers to determine if facial was a detriment to working in the industry. The amount of bacteria found on those with facial hair and those without was not much different.
So, the bottom line is that you don’t need to shave off your whiskers, but you do need to maintain good hygiene (whether you have facial hair or not!).
So, we don’t have to ditch the beard. We just need to change our beard care habits to promote healthy growth and hygiene.
If you aren’t willing to give up your sexy scruff, then get a specially formulated beard shampoo & conditioner. Don’t just think a quick rinse in the shower is enough to maintain a germ-free mug. You need to work a lather into those whiskers.
Now that you have a squeaky clean set of whiskers, keep them in tip top shape with any number of balms, waxes, conditioners, and oils. And while these beard care products enhance growth, tame fly-aways, and soften your beard, don’t forget to keep coming back to a good beard wash like that above.
What do you do to groom your face forest? Do you have a favorite beard care product?