Gross. Just gross. (Photo: Getty Images)
So what do beards and toilets have in common? According to a microbiologist based in New Mexico, they can be equally as dirty.
In a small experiment conducted by Action 7 News in Albuquerque, a group of men had their beards swabbed for testing and the samples were handed to a laboratory for analysis. The results: Many of the men were walking around with the same bacteria swimming around in toilet bowls.
“Those are the types of things you’d find in (fecal matter),” John Golobic from Quest Diagnostics told the reporters. “There would be a degree of uncleanliness that would be somewhat disturbing.” He suggested that men wash their hands often while doing their best to avoid touching their face frequently.
“Beards can be messy and filthy, but they don’t have to be,” Allan Peterkin, bestselling author of One Thousand Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair and co-author of The Bearded Gentleman: The Style Guide To Shaving Face, tells Yahoo Health. “Some men believe that freedom from shaving is freedom from hygiene and maintenance yet nothing could be further from the truth, both for health and aesthetic reasons.”
For the man who prefers facial scruff, Peterkin offers these grooming tips:
Clean it like the hair on your head. “I recommend that a guy wash his beard every morning in the shower with mild shampoo or the same shampoo with conditioner that he uses on his head,” he says. “That way it becomes an instant, daily routine.” Peterkin adds that some men prefer beard-specific washes and conditioners, which are just as fine.
Clip and condition post-shower. “After taking a shower, most guys do a once over with blunted scissors or an electric clipper to remove stray hairs and to tidy the beard margins at the cheek and neckline,” he states. “And it’s not a bad idea to use a tiny dab of your face moisturizer or post-shave balm to condition and soften the beard.”
Practice eating etiquette. “There’s nothing more unappealing than food getting stuck in your beard!” says Peterkin. “Chew with your mouth shut, use your napkin throughout your meal, and then check your face during a bathroom break.”