A new study which sampled men’s beards found more harmful bacteria in their facial hair than in dog fur.
“The researchers found a significantly higher bacterial load in specimens taken from the men’s beards compared with the dogs’ fur,” says professor Andreas Gutzeit of Switzerland’s Hirslanden Clinic.
The alarming news is that every sampled beard was crawling with bacteria, and nearly half had bugs that were hazardous to human health.
A number of the dogs tested proved to have lower levels of microbes.
The study’s intention was to understand whether humans could contract dog-borne diseases from a MRI scanner shared by veterinarians. The researchers took swabs from 18 bearded men and the necks of 30 dogs of various breeds. They found that all of the bearded men, who were aged 18 to 76, had high microbial counts, while only 23 of the 30 dogs showed similarly high microbial presence.
Seven of the men tested positive for microbes that actually posed a threat to human health.
“On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean compared with bearded men” – Professor Andreas Gutzeit, of Switzerland’s Hirslanden Clinic
“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,” says Keith Flett, founder of the Beard Liberation Front. “I don’t believe that beards in themselves are unhygienic.”