Beards are more than just a fashion statement. A new study out of Queensland, Australia claims that men with facial hair are healthier than their clean shaven counterparts.
One of the current and hip fashion styles, not many people would have guessed beards and mustaches have actual health benefits as well.
The study, published in the Radiation Protection Dosimetry Journal, found that beards protect skin from UV rays that cause premature aging.
Beards are so effective that 90 to 95 percent of UV rays gets blocked depending of the length of the hair. Dr. Nick Lowe, a London based dermatologist, is not surprised:
“A balding, bearded surfer will have more sun damage and pre-cancers on their heads than they will on the top of their faces.”
Another health benefit of facial hair is increased protection against pollens. This is especially helpful for men with asthma. Because asthma triggering pollens are sticky, they simply get stuck in facial hair.
To conduct their study, researchers took mannequins out into the Australian outback. They put fake facial hair on some mannequins and none on the remaining. After a certain period of time, the researchers recorded how much radiation has been absorbed into the clean shaven mannequins compared to the fully bearded ones.
Beards are not a get out of sunscreen free card however. Dr. Lowe still recommends men with facial hair use a thin, non-greasy sun lotion or spray.
There have been a few more interesting health studies published recently. One showed the positive effects television could have on children’s behavior. Another showed that folic acid could decrease the risk of autism.
What do you think? Are you going to try and grow a beard now?