Many men enjoy growing beards and feel awkward without it, while some like to be clean shaven as it makes them look more professional.
A new study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection
revealed that clean-shaven men are more likely to harbour infection-causing and antibiotic-resistant bacteria than bearded men.
‘Beards may be more bacteria-resistant and hygienic than shaven skin because facial hair does not increase the overall risk of bacterial colonization compared to clean-shaven.’
The study conducted by the Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital examined the faces of 408 healthcare workers, with and without facial hair. They found that men without beards are more than three times as likely to be carrying a meticillin-resistant form of coagulase-negative staphylococci on their cheeks than those with beards.
The study also found that men with no beards were 10 percent more likely to have a common bacterium Staphylococcus aureus which causes respiratory and skin infections.
Researchers said that the micro-abrasions caused by shaving may support bacterial colonization and proliferation.
Reference:Wakeam E, Hernandez RA et al."Bacterial ecology of hospital workers' facial hair: a cross-sectional study," J Hosp Infect. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2014.02.010