Are Beards Good For Your Health?

By Posted on 6 Comments 2 min read

Now here’s a question that I’ve never heard before, are beards good for you? I don’t know, but I think I know a man that does. There’s a program on BBC TV called Trust Me I’m A Doctor  where they carry out experiments aimed at finding new science.  Apparently, they’ve discovered a bacteria which appear to be producing a novel form of anti biotic, and, amusingly, they have found it in a beard!

Beards seem to be one of those subjects that you either love them or hate them. As far as fashion goes, they do seem to be making a comeback. The chin-strap, the goatee, the neck beard and the Van Dyke, all seem to have their followers or should that be wearers? However, those that love beards, love them, but those who hate them come up with all sorts of reasons for their dislike of all things pubic. They’re irritating, they harbour nits and other forms of creepy crawlies and make you look a lot older than you are.

Recently, a survey carried out by The Journal of Hospital Infection swabbed the faces of 408 hospital staff, both with beards and clean shaven. The reason was to investigate hospital acquired infections that patients never had on being admitted to hospital. Hands, white coats, ties and equipment have all been blamed, but what about beards?

Long BeardSurprisingly, the results showed that it was more likely to be the clean shaven staff that were carrying something unpleasant on their faces. The ‘smoothies’ were more than three times likely to be carrying a species known as methicillin-resistant staph aureus. MRSA is well known as a troublesome source of hospital-acquired infection because of its resistance to many current antibiotics.

So what is happening? It’s been suggested that shaving might cause micro-abrasions in the skin which in turn may support ‘bacterial colonisation and proliferation.’ Maybe, but another more plausible explanation that’s staring them in the face is that beards fight infection.  So, over a 100 swabs were taken from an assortment of beards and sent off to the lab. It was noted that in a few of the petri dishes something was killing the other bacteria. The obvious suspect being a fellow microbe.

Microbes are seen as our enemy, but they don’t see us that way. Penicillin was originally extracted from a species of fungus whose properties were discovered by Alexander Fleming. So could these mysterious microbes (Beardcillin) be doing something similar? Killing fellow bacteria by producing some sort of toxin? Possibly, but further, expensive research needs to be carried out.

More Info on BBC ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor’.




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  • angloswiss
    January 20, 2016

    Oh yes I now have a happy Mr. Swiss, although his growth is more a 3-day beard. I remember his first beard. I always had a thing for beards and I threatened him never to shave it off. It has become a sort of short Jean Reno beard with the years but he still has it. Unfortunately he now has more in the bear than the head, but that makes it all more attractive. I mean just look at Bruce Willis. I can see Mr. Swiss battling through all sorts of threatening life situations, just to save me, so the beard stays. Now he is quite happy, as he knows not only is it a growth, but a healthy growth. Loved that piece, really an encouragement.

    • admin
      January 20, 2016

      Excellent, although I’m not really a beard man myself, I can’t tolerate the itching after a couple of days. I’m glad to see they could be healthy though.

  • Anonymous
    January 20, 2016

    My husband had a full beard most of our marriage. He looked better with one, than without; because he was one of the unfortunate who have little to no chin. Or the chin is absorbed into the fat pad some folks have under their jaw. He shaved it off (left his mustache) for our wedding and I always privately thought he looked rather bad. But. My father greatly admired beards and often tried to grow one, with little success. For whatever reason it would never fill in nor become bushy, so he always looked sloppy…like he forgot to shave for a few days and had this stubble that my mother used to call his ‘goat beard’…because ‘old goat” plus “beard”….I have one sibling that can grow a full beard and looks nice with it; and one that takes after Pop. And I just don’t ‘get’ the fascination with them that grown men seem to have. I can take ’em or leave ’em, as long as they are well groomed and enhance the fellows’ appearance. Otherwise (to me?) the ones who struggle or let their hair get out of control; just look like overgrown little boys trying to make some sort of point. Sexy it ain’t.

    • admin
      January 20, 2016

      I agree with you that some men can and some can’t. I said earlier that I’m not one for beards, but as you rightly say, so long as they enhance the fellows appearance then that seems good.

  • davekingsbury
    January 21, 2016

    According to this Edward Lear limerick, there could be an increased risk of cross-species infection:

    There was an Old Man with a beard,

    Who said, “It is just as I feared!—

    Two Owls and a Hen, four Larks and a Wren,

    Have all built their nests in my beard.

    • admin
      January 21, 2016

      Haha, you just never know what you’ll find.

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