Your Beard is Not Full of Poop.

(Certain articles are full of shit, though).

It's no surprise we've sold out of beard shampoo this week: articles regarding beard hygiene have been circulating the internet and spreading like wildfire recently. Naturally, we've taken issue with many aspects of it. Unfortunately, even though it fails at every step with regard to legitimising it's findings, that hasn't stopped it from taking the internet by storm and being posted on every bearded guy's Facebook wall.

Is the study valid?

Put simply, no.

We can't even get our hands on the data to have a look at it, as no scientific study took place. A reporter took swabs of a handful of guy's beards, then sent them off to a microbiologist to see what bacteria was present. At no point is it reported how many people's beards were swabbed. Even if we're being generous it's probably still less than 10.

 

 Things a respectable study would have
Things this study doesn't have
  • A respectable sample size.
  • A respectable sample size.
  • Statistics: p values, effect sizes, etc.
  • Statistics: p values, effect sizes, etc.
  • Published data.
  • Published data.
  • Peer-reviewed status and published in a reviewed journal.
  • Peer-reviewed status and published in a reviewed journal.

 

The bacteria:

They found bacteria on some (not all) beards. Not poop. Not even necessarily poop-related bacteria. The bacteria they supposedly found (enteric) is found in the intestine, not just poop; some strains of this bacteria family are vital for life and are even found on healthy skin, plants, cheese and even in water. It's a bacteria that if you look hard enough, you'll probably find anywhere.

Not to mention, the microbiologist these 'researchers' consulted even admitted that the bacteria is not necessarily harmful.

A study in the peer-reviewed Journal of Hospital Infection found that males with facial hair actually had marginally less bacteria on bearded men's faces when compared to clean shaven men.

 

War on beards?

The claims of these reports are completely bogus: no poo was found in anybody's beards, which is the headline claim that all of these sensationalist, click bait articles.

A select few headlines:

"Beards as dirty as toilets"
"Men's beards are vile, germy, cesspools"
"Beards are covered in poop"

No, the above quotes aren't satire. They're legitimate headlines of reputable news outlets. But why have so many news outlets jumped onto this, when most of the reporters probably know full well that it's absolute rubbish? 

This mysterious vendetta that some people have against beards is once again puzzling us in a similar vein to when many reporters tried exceptionally hard to declare that beards were going out of fashion. Once again, they're wrong.

 

Reality

In reality, beards protect you from bacteria. The bacteria you find on a beard was in all likelihood picked up by your hands and heading to your mouth, but caught by the bro on your face who is keeping bacteria out. 

Clean shaven guys who are sharing this article are just highlighting the fact that any poo particles knocking about just go straight into their mouths, seeing as there's nothing there to catch them.

 


If bacteria getting in your mouth is a concern, then a beard is actually better than clean shaven!

 

Summary:

  • This is not a valid study.
  • Their 'results' are not scientifically valid - the bacteria is not harmful.
  • These headlines are complete nonsense - no poo was found.
  • Beards actually protect you from swallowing so much bacteria.
  • These articles are a bunch of crap being spread by beard haters.
  • A study in the Journal of Hospital Infection found less bacteria on bearded men's faces.

 

If you're conscious of beard germs, clean it every few days with beard shampoo. Simple!

Beard On,
Andy
beardbase.co.uk Founder 

 

 

 

 

Read more

Beards in London: #Project60 and the Beard exhibit

4 Foods That Betray You When You've Got A Beard

Mental Health Awareness Week