Rumor: Beards are good for your health?

Keeping a full beard over a close shave is better for your health.

UNCONFIRMED: Beards are good for your health  

Beards aren't just trendy, they're also good for you, contends The Daily Mail in a widely circulating article that should please George Clooney and Brad Pitt. While the premise sounds like a dubious attempt to persuade a skeptical mate, here is a look at a couple of arguments, starting with this: Beards protect against the sun.

"A balding, bearded surfer will have more sun damage and pre-cancers on their heads than they will on the top of their faces," London dermatologist Nick Lowe told The Daily Mail. Reality: Indeed, a study found that beards provide an ultraviolet protection factor of 2 to 21. But unfortunately that's not enough to forgo sunscreen. 

Prevent nasty skin rashes?

Argument No. 2: Beards mean fewer rashes from too-close shaves. Well, it's hard to argue with that logic, and we'll throw in this — warts are more common on body areas where people shave, thanks to cuts and nicks, according to American Academy of Dermatology. As for other arguments such as beards help fight off coughs and slow the aging process we didn't find published research saying yea or nay.

So in the end, let's be frank beards may really be about attracting the opposite sex. Women prefer men with stubbly chins, a British study found, as opposed to full beards or close shaves. If that sounds off base, another study notes "inconsistent" evidence that women find beards attractive, and it's "debatable" whether beards show social dominance. So why beards are widespread, the study says, "remains something of a mystery."   

Full coverage about beards



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