The 10 Health Benefits Attributed to Beards
You have been growing your beard because you are privy to all the advantages it gives you: manly, ruggedly good looks; perceived maturity; brotherly camaraderie amongst fellow beardsmen; and last but not least, a more chiseled face. Yet there is so much more you owe to that impressive beard of yours! A beard’s benefits don’t stop at superficial aesthetics. Its benefits extend to your health. Research published in the Journal of Hospital Infection shows that men with shaved faces carry more disease-causing bacteria than do bearded men. Those results go against the stereotype that beards harbor dirt and germs.
So in case you are considering getting rid of that impressive beard of yours, first take some time to weigh the benefits of your facial hair:
1. REDUCE THE RISK OF SKIN CANCER
As energizing as the sun’s warmth feels against our skin, we increasingly have to keep a layer of protection between ourselves and the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. We have come up with a lot of ingenious ways to keep the UV rays at bay while still enjoying the life-giving force of the sun’s light: we wear lotion that puts a chemical layer of protection on our skin at the cost of acne and burning eyes; we wear hats, sunglasses, and extra layers of clothing in an effort to incorporate sun protection into our fashion trends; and we tint our car windows. Yet there is nothing that shields a face from the UV rays with as little effort and as few side effects as facial hair. The beard is an almost solid physical layer of protection for your face, reducing the sun’s harm. Younger, firm, elastic, young skin will remain yours if you sport a nice growth of facial hair.
2. MAINTAIN SKIN’S MOISTURE LEVELS
Skin becomes dry when it does not contain enough water. This can happen when you don’t stay hydrated or when the elements strip your skin of its moisture via evaporation. Your sebaceous glands secrete oil which is meant to seal in the water within the skin, but we remove that natural layer via wiping and washing our faces. Lotions are meant to help by re-creating a barrier over your skin that prevents the moisture underneath from evaporating. Yet how many of us hate the greasy consistency of lotion and the shiny, waxy look created by applying it? The answer to that dilemma is facial hair. Your beard serves the same purpose as lotion, minus the greasy, shiny side effects. Your facial hair covers your face, minimizing the elimination of natural oils and the water within your skin. Just be sure not to use harsh products on your beard which would only strip your skin of that moisture.
3. ELIMINATE SIDE EFFECTS OF SHAVING
Don’t be mistaken; daily shaving wreaks havoc on your skin. You are getting rid of not only facial hair, but also the protective layer of oils and the top of your epidermis. You can remedy that by applying lotions and aftershave, but you still run the risk of provoking folliculitis and ingrown hairs. When you sum it all up, to reverse all the side effects of daily shaving, you have to invest a lot of time (and money) in keeping your skin in optimal condition. Save yourself the time and money, let nature run its course, and your beard will let you avoid ingrown hairs and other conditions.
4. ALLERGY REDUCTION
Within your body, you have tiny hairs, called cilia, that filter irritants and allergens from the air before it enters your lungs. Your beard is an exterior, coarse version of these filter-like cilia. It can be assumed that your facial hair catches a lot of pollen, pollution and other unwanted particles in the air before it can get into your respiratory tract. Although it has not been proven conclusively, it is reasonable to assume that your beard reduces allergies to irritants and allergens in the air. If you doubt this reasoning, run a wet wipe through your beard after a day spent outdoors in the polluted air. Chances are you will end up with a dirty towelette.
5. REDUCE ASTHMA
Similarly to allergies, asthma is often triggered by irritants and pollutants in the air. In fact, allergic asthma, by definition, is caused by an allergy to such particles as dust and pollen. As aforementioned, your beard serves as a filter for allergy-inducing particles in the air. So you kill two health hassles with one beard, which reduces the chance of both allergies as well as asthma.
6. REDUCE SICKNESSES
If you want to avoid catching a cold, your first instinct might be to stay warm. Sure, your beard will help your face remain at an ideal temperature even in the midst of winter. Yet the common cold is not caused by cold weather but by germs, bacteria, and viruses. If your beard traps irritants before they can enter your respiratory system, then it likely filters out bacteria and viruses before they can enter your mucus membranes, too.
7. IMPROVE PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH
No discussion about health is complete if it does not cover all aspects involved. Our health has many facets besides the physical aspect. Psychological health is important for our emotional well-being and happiness. One ingredient to attain optimal psychological health is confidence. Physical attractiveness may seem superficial and materialistic; however, feeling physically attractive can give us the temporary boost to pursue jobs and conquer fears, all of which significantly builds on our confidence from within.
In a survey of 1,000 men in New York, 67% had facial hair. Of those, more than half felt that their facial hair increased their sex appeal and gave them more confidence. If you take that boost in confidence and apply it to meaningful pursuits like finding a career, then your psychological health will reach new heights.
8. INCREASE SEXUAL LIFE AND ASSOCIATED BENEFITS
Numerous informal studies have shown that women attribute masculine traits to faces with facial hair. Bearded men are more likely than their peachy-faced counterparts to be perceived as paternal, aggressive, macho, mature, and virile. Then it makes sense that a woman who accepts the attention of a bearded man is fully aware that things likely will lead to mature relations. An active life in the bedroom ensues, and most of us know the benefits of an active sex life from personal experience: lots of cardio and deep, restful sleep. If those are not healthful benefits, then what is?
9. REDUCE INFECTIONS
So we have tons of bacteria on our skin, some of the health-endangering variety, others of a helpful type. Shaving and the eventual nicks and cuts involved can introduce the unhealthful bacteria below your skin surface and even into your bloodstream. You figure you can kill all the bacteria first by lathering antibacterial soap onto your face, but that will only ruin your skin’s chemical balance as you will be getting rid of the beneficial bacteria. If you choose to forego shaving and allow your facial hair to grow naturally instead, you will avoid the risks of introducing bad bacteria into tiny cuts within your epidermis.
10. ELIMINATE INCONVENIENCE OF BLEMISHES
Whether you have not left the juvenile acne behind with your teen years or your face is acting up due to stress and all the sunblock lotion you slather on to protect it from UV rays, nobody will dispute that pimples are unattractive and painful. Get rid of your razor, ditch the sunblock, and let your facial hair grow out. Not only will it cover up your unsightly blemishes, but also it will eliminate the need for lotions and sunblocks, the products that are probably contributing to acne problems in the first place.
Simply put, set aside all the man-made products and let nature run its course. Your beard is not a physiological mistake, it is a natural air filter, sunblock, and moisture barrier. It is an ingenious design.