A Man’s Beard Might Carry More Germs Than Dog Hair

For those of you with facial hair or those with a special bearded person in your life, prepare yourself for a new study from Switzerland. The results could be interpreted to say that men carry more germs in their beards than dogs carry in their fur.

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In this small study, scientists initially sought out to see if it were "safe to have a dog in the MRI scanner before your own examination." The results were published in the European Radiology Medical Journal and were met with some surprise. Professor Andreas Gutzeit and his team at the Hirslanden Clinic found that there was a "significantly higher bacterial load in specimens taken from men’s beards compared with dogs’ fur." Eek.

The process of the study was to measure the bacterial contamination of an MRI machine used by dogs and humans with two other MRI machines used only by humans. When they looked closer at the results they saw that more men with facial hair had high microbial counts than dogs did. That might be a bit worrying for those hirsute gents out there.

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But before you go and buzz your beard off, note that the scientists took specimens from only 18 men and 30 dogs and that might not be enough to determine solid results. Keith Flett of the Beard Liberation Front also doesn't fully believe in the method of the study. As he told the Daily Mail:

"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."

So whether you are a beardophile, bearded, or have "pogonophobia" (a fear of beards), this study's results are certainly interesting. What do you think of the study? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to pass this on to your friends!