A study out of Switzerland claims that men's beards carry more bacteria than dog fur. This is bad news for all you bearded boys - if you wonder why your beard is always itchy, now you know.
According to the study, a Swiss research group surveyed the bacterial load of microorganisms from 18 men and 30 dogs. They also compared the bacterial contamination that is shared by both dogs and humans.
In layman's terms, they took samples of beard hair and dog fur and found that "bearded men harbour significantly higher burden of microbes and more human-pathogenic strains than dogs."
Though the sample size is small, 100% of the men in the study were found to have high microbial counts, with nearly 40% harbouring pathogen bacteria in their beards. Pathogen bacteria can mean anything from feces to salmonella and even worse things like Streptococcus or listeria.
Don't panic though — this doesn't necessarily mean that your beard is a bacteria-filled cesspool... but it does mean that you should pay careful attention to your beard. Campaigners for The Beard Liberation Front (yes, that's a thing) released updated beard care guidelines following the study.
The Beard Liberation Front, or BLF, says that "they don’t believe that research suggesting that beards carry more dirt than other parts of the body."
It stands to reason, however, that beards are more susceptible to harbouring bacteria, even though the study has such a small sample size.
Before the beard police get mad at us, keep in mind that as long as you keep your beard clean and healthy, you have no reason to worry about the results of this study. Then again, you can always just shave and pet some dogs — that's probably a better time.
Men throughout history are famous with their beards, as everyone from Jesus to Sigmund Freud are known for their impressive facial hair. If you don't know who they are, Jesus did that one thing with water and Freud took a bunch of cocaine. Quality role models!
Whether or not you believe the research is credible, if you have a beard, please make sure to clean it and keep it healthy.