It Turns out Your Beard Keeps You Not Only Ruggedly Handsome, But Healthy, Too

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Beards are, as you’ve likely noticed (especially if you watch professional sports), back in fashion. Long beards, short beards, thick beards, styled beards – all beards are super cool these days.

Men grow beards for any number of reasons (some of which may even be evolutionary), not just because they’re in vogue. But – style be damned – there are still some people who worry that food and other grossness can get up in your facial hair. Well, if you’ve been avoiding growing some stubble for that reason, science says you don’t have to worry.

According to researchers from the University of Southern Queensland, not only are beards not full of microbial nastiness, they actually make the people who sport them healthier overall.

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Their 2012 study also found that beards block 90-95% of harmful ultraviolet light from the face, which would in turn reduce one’s chance of developing skin cancer.

“Facial hair has an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of anywhere from 2 to 21, researchers told Men’s Journal. “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.”

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Beards trap dust and pollen, helping to protect your nose, eyes, and mouth from potential allergens. They also protect your skin from harsh winds and cold temperatures, which means if and when you do decide to shave, the skin underneath should be healthy and youthful.

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You can add health reasons to the financial and temporal benefits of beard-growing (who doesn’t love saving money on razors and time in the bathroom?). Plus, women reportedly find them attractive, sooo….

I wonder if this research applies to shaving legs, too.