Should men shave?

Send this article to friends who shave. An experienced doctor claims that a beard is much healthier because it protects facial skin from bacteria. Here are the details.

 Man with beard (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Man with beard
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

When it comes to looks, some will say that a beard compliments a man while others claim that Mr. Scruffy looks unkempt. 

Yet regarding health, Dr. Karan Raj (@ dr.karanr) argues that a beard is better than a shaved face. On TikTok, Raj claims that men should grow beards and highlights a 2014 study comparing hospital workers with and without beards.

Raj posted that the study found that clean-shaven faces were three times more likely to carry MRSA bacteria. MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a deadly bacteria resistant to most types of antibiotics. Its resilience makes it a significant threat to hospitalized patients when carried on the skin and inside the nostrils and throat. 

The bacteria can cause skin infections like boils and impetigo. If it enters fissures in the skin, it can cause life-threatening infections.

Raj explains that shaved workers in hospitals are more likely to carry MRSA because shaving creates microscopic cuts which are optimum reproductive sites for this bacteria.  He adds that beards give men extra soft skin. This is because a beard protects the skin beneath it from aging by blocking sun exposure, and also because the beard is a barrier that prevents you from constantly touching your face, accidentally rubbing and removing the oils produced by sebaceous glands which keep skin moist.

Raj says that a beard may reduce your risk of sunburn and skin cancer in these shaded areas, adding that evidence shows that facial hair reduces exposure to UV light by a third, compared to a clean-shaven face. Yet, he cautions that though facial hair can lower the risk of skin cancers like melanoma one must use sunscreen daily.

Bearded men carry more bacteria than dogs

Before you rush to grow a beard, see that another study found that bearded men carry more bacteria on their face than dogs, including deadly bacteria. Researchers found that almost half of all beards sampled in the study host bacteria that can harm your health.

According to an online email, a study conducted last year tried to determine whether there was a risk that humans would contract a disease carried by dogs. Several dogs were scanned using a special MRI machine for animals which vets use. In examining the beards of 18 men and the necks of 30 dogs from various breeds, scientists found that even hunting dogs have lower levels of bacteria than the beards tested.

Professor Andreas Gottziet, of the Hirslanden Clinic in Switzerland, said that, "the researchers found a significantly higher bacterial load in samples taken from men's beards when compared to dogs' fur.”