Are Beards Dangerous to Your Health?
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July 10, 2014
By Editors, MangoBoss

Facial hair as a fashion trend comes and goes. Beards were popular
among men in the 1800’s.  Several US Presidents ---Ulysses S. Grant
and Abraham Lincoln and Rutherford Hayes --- wore beards when they
campaigned and kept them after being elected. Beards went out of
fashion after the 1930’s and 1940’s, for some reason, perhaps because
of World War II, when men had to be clean-shaven. Until the 1960’s
and 1970’s, men generally stayed clean-shaven both at work and at
home.  Now, beards are making  a comeback, which raises the
question. Is there anything about wearing a beard or mustache that
can endanger your health or the health of you family?

Beards Carry Bacteria –A Long Time

First, he obvious. Beards and mustaches are hair, and hair can become
clotted with oil and bacteria over time if it isn’t washed properly.  Most
of us remember to wash our hair. But what particular dangers do
unwashed beards present?

Surprisingly, scientists have looked at this issue. In a 1967 report
entitled “Microbiological Hazard of Bearded Men”, scientists at the Us
Industrial Health and Safety Office examined whether bearded men put
their families in danger by carrying bacteria their beards may have been
exposed to at work.

You can imagine what kind of interplay started this study. Some guy
wears a beard into the lab and his boss asks him to have he off. He
refuses. The boss then sets out to prove that the beard represents
health danger to the guy’s family, right?

Okay, the experiment went like this. The scientists placed a full-length,
natural hair beard on  mannequin. The beard was contaminated with
contaminated with Newcastle disease virus (NDV) and Clostridium
botulinum type A toxin.

They then exposed chicks  --- sorry, no pun intended --- and guinea
pigs to the unwashed beard hairs.  They then sacrificed the lab animals,
and examined the bodies for evidence of disease.
Here is what they found.  Beards retain microorganisms and toxins
despite washing with soap and water.

Even after washing, enough toxins remained on the beards to infect
anyone who came in contact with them.

The study did not cover another risk --the risk of self-infection by
beards or mustaches.  Bacteria left on beards or mustaches can be
transmitted to your own body when you stroke your beard or
mustache and later touch your food, your mouth or inhale.

How to Wash Your Beard or Mustache to Protect Your Family from

Remember that, even if you wash fastidiously, it is nearly impossible to
keep a certain amount of bacteria from your beard, as the study above
showed.  But there are things you can do to minimize the risk of cross-
infecting your wife, girlfriend or romantic interest with your manly
facial hair.

1.        Trim Your Beard or Mustache Close.  Longer beards or
mustaches are harder to keep clean. Try to trim your beard close
enough so that the skin shows through. This will make it easier to keep
clean. As for mustaches, try not to let them grow too far down over
your lip, which increases the chance that they will pick up bacteria and
moisture when you eat.

2.        Prep Your Beard and Mustache for Cleaning. Prepare your beard
for cleaning by spraying it with an ant-bacterial mist. Let the most sit
for 30 minutes before washing. Can’t find a mist” Make your own by
mixing a liquid antibacterial soap with water and putting the mix in a
spritz bottle which you can find at any department store or hair care

3.        Part the Waves. Part your beard or mustache with a comb to
allow the cleanser better access to the skin underneath.

4.        Comb the Cleaner Through. Comb the cleaning liquid through
your beard or mustache to ensure that all strands are covered and

5.        Scrub the Beard. Once the beard or mustache has been combed
through, scrub the beard to work up a frothy lather. Don’t scrub so
hard that you irritate your skin.

6.        Rinse with Warm Water and Repeat. Clean the beard 3 times,
rinsing after each cleaning.

7.        Dry the Beard.  Before you apply any cologne or conditioner,
allow your beard to dry completely.

8.        Avoid Overuse of Conditioners. Conditioners and dyes enable
bacteria to cling to your beard or mustache more easily. If you use
them, make sure that you removed them by “clarifying” the hair on
your beard at least once a week. Clarifying involves using a wash that
includes lemon or vinegar to strip away the layers of conditioners and
dyes that cling to the strands of your beard after several uses.
Clarifying will make your beard shinier in the long run.


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Beards are fashionable again. But they can be a danger to
your health, a study has found.