Science says that beards keep you healthy and handsome
Beards are like Marmite, you either love them or you hate them.
Some people think that they're simply dirty attachments to a man's face, which simply act as a bib for chunks of spaghetti or cereal that drop in there throughout the day. Others, however, love them, and see them as the definition of masculinity and as a subtle way to shape a man's jawline and his face in general.
Whatever you think of beards, science has proven that not only do beards actually make men more handsome, they actually carry a load of health benefits with them as well.
According to a group of researchers from the University of Southern Queensland, a thick and proper beard offers multiple benefits to the person that they are attached to, with some of them being pretty incredible.
In the study, researchers left a number of mannequins out in the Australian outback. Some of the mannequins were bearded, others were bare-faced and they wanted to compare the amount of radiation that was absorbed by each one in order to see how much protection a beard can provide.
The results found that the beards blocked 90 to 95 per cent of the harmful UV rays emitted by the sun from the faces of the mannequins. This led to the researchers concluding that this level of built-in protection in beards would slow the ageing process and reduce the risk of contracting skin cancer in men, so good news all round!
One of the scientists involved in the study, Alfio Parisi, spoke Men's Journal about the study and the results that followed, saying:
"Facial hair has an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of anywhere from 2 to 21. The percentage of UV blocked to the skin depends on the thickness and angle of the sun... Provided the beard is of reasonable thickness, I do not think there is a need to slather sunscreen over the beard due to the protection it provides."
Though the ideal thickness of a protective beard is pretty hard to define, Parisi said that "it has to be a thick bushy beard and not just stubble."
Beards are not only great for protecting against life threatening diseases, such as skin cancer, they are also fantastic at fighting against the annoying things in life, such as pollen and dust. While it may sound like a horrible situation for any hayfever or asthma sufferers to have pollen and dust trapped in their beard, they actually act as a fuzzy fortress for their owners. The beard will protect your nose, eyes, and mouth from the irritants, saving you from hours of itchiness, sneezing and shelling out big bucks on hayfever tablets.
Not done there though, a thorough facial hair coating also retains moisture and acts as a barrier against harsh winds, meaning your skin stays fresh and youthful underneath.
So there you have it, gents. Growing out your beard can have multiple benefits on your life. Not only does it protect you from disease, allergies and dry skin, it also makes you more handsome along the way. Now, it's time to all embrace the beard, and walk around looking like a load of Vikings.