Some of you may have seen an article that came out recently from the Hirslanden Clinic in Switzerland that claims that men with beards have higher bacteria counts in their beard than dogs do in their fur! Oh my God! Men with beards are filthy! Men with beards are walking germ-nasiums! have your beard and do it quick!
That is nearly the exact conclusion that many local news stations took away from the study. Some choice quotes include:
Yeah, they took from the study that beards are dirty and hazardous to human health. Problem is if you actually READ the study instead of just trying to make snarky headlines you see it says nothing of the sort. The entire point of the study was to find out if it was safe to have dogs in an MRI machine. Now first off, I have no idea why anyone would want to spend money on this question. I’m glad it was the Swiss paying for this study and not the United States. But, funding aside the point here was to see if one species was more or less dirty than another.
Here are the QUOTED conclusions of the study:
OK, so to point #1 – who cares? Dogs are not people and people are not dogs. Do you know what else wasn't studied? Men without beards. Women. Men and women with acne. Otters. Duck-billed platypus. The list goes on but you get my point. Where humans with or without beards fall on a hygienic scale compared to another species is basically irrelevant. My takeaway here is conclusion #2 – that dogs ARE NOT filthy, which is great news (if you own a dog)! Basically, the whole point of the study was conclusion #3 – which is that we are not as hygienic as we think we are when cleaning up in hospitals.
Finally, let me add this: if your beard has bacteria in it GOOD! It means your beard is DOING ITS JOB! A beard is like a giant filter. Therefore, there is a reason it is placed under and around your nose and mouth, as it serves the same function as the hair follicles in your nose, namely to filter out allergens and bacteria from the air. Every microbe, allergen, and bacteria found in your beard is likely a microbe, allergen, or bacteria that never made it inside your body.
Way to go beards!
As a beard owner, the takeaway we SHOULD have from this study is that practicing good beard hygiene is a must. it's why we promote the use of beard shampoos and conditioners. Your beard can and does collect all manner of stuff floating around in the air, so it’s a good idea to wash it on a regular basis. Washing out your beard on a regular basis WILL remove the natural oils in your beard (called sebum) so you will want to make sure you replace it with high quality all natural beard oil. Anyway, don’t let the haters get you down. The study itself is pretty legit (and interesting!). The conclusions of the media demonstrate why they are generally considered as untrustworthy as politicians and used car salesmen.
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