The bearded trend might be all the rage, but, guys, maybe it’s time to pick up your razors. It’s not that we don’t love your facial hair (there is, after all, a dating site specifically for those keen on the look); it’s that according to Carol Walker, a consultant trichologist (hair and scalp specialist) at the Birmingham Trichiology Centre, those sexy beards could be breeding grounds for bacteria. Unless you’re good at grooming your beard.
Yet, your body is home to hundreds of different types of bacteria (including disease-causing bacteria). So why would beard bacteria be a problem?
Walker explains that it’s the follicle structure of beard hair that causes the issue. “Beard hair is coarser… it tends to have more bends and kinks which trap dirt,” she explained to the Daily Mail. “The cuticles on the hair — which are like layers of tile on a roof — trap the dirt and grease.” Add to that the fact that your beard acts as an insulator, and suddenly, you’ve got a warm breeding ground for germs.
If you’re in the habit of touching your beard often, you can easily spread bacteria from your hands to your beard and have it get stuck there… along with leftover food particles and sweat. Dairy in particular is one of the worst offenders. Walker explains that it “can get stuck in the beard and become a bit rancid.” If you’re getting cozy with someone else, you can pass those trapped bacteria onto them. Or vice versa.
Others, like Professor Hugh Pennington, Professor of Bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, disagree saying, “It’s the same bacteria that’s on your skin. It’s not problematic and it’s not a health risk.”
Either way, guys, do yourselves (and your potential mates) a favor. Wash your beard often, try to keep your hands off it, and definitely, definitely do not use it as a bowl for ramen.