Sicker than a dog: Bearded men carry more germs than their ‘best friends’

May 22, 2019

Based on results of a survey performed in 2016 among a cohort of over 8,500 women by researchers in Australia, the fair sex prefers men who exhibit pronounced male secondary sexual traits, such as facial hair. Indeed, a light stubble was judged the most attractive overall; and full beards were deemed the sexiest by women looking for long-term relationships.

But, although facial hair increases the appearance of masculinity and social dominance—and may help a guy to attract a mate—it actually may not be healthy for either partner!

In fact, a more recent study out of Switzerland suggests that bearded men actually carry more germs than a dog’s fur, The Huffington Post reports.

Researchers at the Hirslanden Clinic near Zurich, Switzerland, wanted to determine whether evaluating humans and dogs in the same MRI scanner would be hygienic.

They did so by comparing the bacterial load in colony-forming units (CFU) of human-pathogenic microorganisms in specimens taken from 18 bearded men and 30 furry dogs.

The researchers also compared the extent of bacterial contamination of an MRI scanner used by both dogs and humans with two other MRI scanners used exclusively by humans.

What did they find? It turns out all the bearded bros showed high microbial counts, The Huffington Post reports, compared with only 23 out of 30 dogs. In fact, seven of the men had so much beard bacteria they were at risk of getting sick, according to the BBC.

The jointly used scanner also had significantly lower bacteria counts than the scanners used only by humans.

“On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean, compared with bearded men,” study author Andreas Gutzeit told the BBC.

The study was published in February in Eur Radiol.

Research contact: andreas.gutzeit@hirslanden.ch

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