Bad news for hipsters and Jon Snow lookalikes.
As if dogs weren’t already pipping mankind to the post on the cuteness scale, bearded men have suffered a mighty blow today, thanks to science.
Turns out, there are more germs on your beard than there are on a dog’s fur.
Why, you might ask, are scientists spending any time seeking to shame the bearded with this data when they could be curing cancer, for example.
Well, a team at the Hirslanden Clinic in Switzerland wanted to use an MRI machine on humans previously used by vets so they set out to see whether there was a risk to humans who might pick up dog diseases from the close contact.
To do so, researchers swabbed the beards of 18 men aged between 18 and 76 as well as the necks of 30 dogs across a range of breeds and compared the results.
Apparently, it’s not the humans who should be worried. The team found all of the bearded men showed high microbial counts, but only 23 out of 30 dogs had high counts.
Professor Andreas Gutzeit said:
The researchers found a significantly higher bacterial load in specimens taken from the men’s beards compared with the dogs’ fur.
On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean compared with bearded men.
Moreover, the data showed nearly half of all sampled man beards hosted bugs dangerous to human health. Between the beard fairy lights, beard glitter, and beard bouquets, it’s almost unsurprising.
But the sample size isn’t huge, some beard proponents have argued, accusing the scientists of playing into pogonophobia – the fear of beards.
Keith Flett, founder of the Beard Liberation Front, which opposes discrimination against the hirsute, cast doubt on the report.
He told The Mail on Sunday:
I think it’s possible to find all sorts of unpleasant things if you took swabs from people’s hair and hands and then tested them. I don’t believe that beards in themselves are unhygienic.
There seems to be a constant stream of negative stories about beards that suggest it’s more about pogonophobia than anything else.
Perhaps Keith would like to read about this study, which suggests men with beards make better boyfriends, or this one, which found they are more attractive to women?
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