Men with beards carry more harmful bacteria in their facial hair than canines do in their fur, according to a new study.
“The researchers found a significantly higher bacterial load in specimens taken from the men’s beards compared with the dogs’ fur,” professor Andreas Gutzeit of Switzerland’s Hirslanden Clinic told the Daily Mail.
The study’s goal was to determine if humans could catch dog-borne diseases from an MRI scanner used by veterinarians. Participants included 18 men aged 18 to 76 and 30 dogs of different breeds.
Researchers found that all the men with beards had high counts of microbes, while just 23 of the dogs had similar counts. Seven men had microbes considered a threat to human health.
The findings suggest dogs are clean compared to bearded men, Gutzeit noted.
The MRI scanner was cleaned after the dogs were examined, and levels of bacteria were “significantly” lower when compared to levels after humans used the machine.
Bearded men may take exception to the study, particularly those who groom their facial hair daily and use oils and balms to keep it healthy and clean.
Keith Flett, founder of the Bear Liberation front, pointed out that “all sorts of unpleasant things” would probably turn up if you tested people’s hair and hands.
“I don’t believe that beards in themselves are unhygienic,” he insisted.
Flett is also annoyed that bearded men get so much negative publicity, blaming pogonophobia (an extreme dislike of beards) for the unfavorable attention.
Meanwhile, studies have shown that women think men with full beards are “masculine, aggressive, and socially mature,” while men with light beards are considered the most dominant. There’s also a link between full beards and a woman’s perception of healthiness and good parenting skills.
Recent research by the Journal of Evolutionary Biology asked 8,500 women about facial hair on men and each one of those said they prefer some sort of beard. “Our findings suggest that beardedness may be attractive when judging long‐term relationships as a signal of intrasexual formidability and the potential to provide direct benefits to females,” researchers wrote.