Do Beards Have Germs?
The notion of catching a disease from a hitchhiking germ is really a scary possibility.
Published by Naked Armor
Facial Hairstyles and Filtering Facepiece Respirators Infographics
Photo by: US CDC
In a world that’s becoming boundaryless, where a virus outbreak can immediately turn into a pandemic in a span of weeks, the notion of catching a disease from a hitchhiking germ is really a scary possibility.
Add misinformation to this mix and you can easily spread wide scale panic. Remember that silly infographic when we all thought that beards should be shaved off in order to be safe from the COVID-19 virus?
As it so happens, it wasn’t exactly accurate. But for days, it was a trending topic, especially for the bearded community. And just to reiterate: the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not telling people to shave in order to avoid the COVID-19 virus.
In fact, the infographic was created pre-COVID era and was actually just to show how some types of facial hair may not fit current respirators that may be required in workplace settings.
In this article, you will learn:
Beards as Germ Sponges
But there is some truth to beards becoming germ incubators. We’re sure you heard about that old news about how dog hair has less germs than a man’s beard.
In a small study, researchers from the Hirslanden Clinic in Switzerland took swabs from the facial fuzz of 18 men and the necks of 30 dogs, across a range of breeds, and compared the results between the two. Seven of the men tested positive for microbes that actually posed a threat to human health.
Most of the men in this small study, who were aged from 18 to 76, had high counts of bacteria in their beards, while only 23 out of the 30 dogs carried high levels.
First off, we must stress how small this study is. There’s no way we can generalize from it, although admittedly, if one hasn’t been washing his beard, it just makes sense that it can be a breeding ground for all kinds of germs and parasites. Because hygiene, people.
That being said, between your beard and your hair, it’s your beard that is most likely to be naturally welcoming to germs.
It is always recommended to clean your beard regularly. Just like washing your hands with soap and water kills off the germs, so does a daily regimen of beard shampoo and a hot shower.
— D'Rock, Naked Armor Founder
Ground Zero for Germ Growth
That’s because of the texture of beard hairs. In comparison to the hair on your scalp, beard hairs are coarse. Thus they make a perfect trap for dirt and germs.
This includes the food bits that manage to stay in your beard, or those germs transferred from the hands during a good old beard-stroking session. Add the trapped heat from the environment and you’ve got the perfect environment to incubate all sorts of germs.
And this mode of transfer is probably significant because it's the only scenario that addresses how a virus like the COVID-19 could actually be present in the beard.
Remember what the World Health Organization said as the number one preventative method for protecting oneself from infection? They said one should refrain from touching the hands to the face and to regularly wash the hands with soap for 20 seconds.
Similarly, that is what the possible route of infection is for the beard. If your hands had touched a surface that is infected with the COVID-19 virus, and you touch your face with it, chances are, not only are you transferring the virus to your face and mouth, but you’re also providing a place for it to flourish in your beard.
Now can you just imagine kissing your loved one with that infected beard? In due time, you’ll become a vector for the virus.
Proper Beard Hygiene
Which is why it is always recommended to clean your beard regularly. Just like washing your hands with soap and water kills off the germs, so does a daily regimen of beard shampoo and a hot shower.
The skin has its normal population of germs which are largely not pathogenic for the human body. Regular cleansing keeps the population low so that it doesn’t cause acne or any other illness to the body. Similarly, the skin under your beard also holds the same kind of germs. Adding in the fact that the difference of beard hair from other hair in our body is not only its texture but also the skin underneath. The skin underneath the beard hair tends to be more oily which will probably be more welcoming to such germs. However, it’s not problematic and not a health risk if we practice regular grooming.
And by regular grooming, we mean, trimming it to keep it under control and nourishing it with beard oils and balms to keep it healthy.
Wet Shaving is Next to Godliness
But if you’re really germophobic and you can’t really bear the idea of germs living under all that facial hair, even if they’re not causing you any harm, you can always shave it off.
Wet shaving, as a traditional form of male grooming, has often been considered a male vanity preoccupation but there are certain beneficial and healthy reasons for wet shaving.
For one thing, all that pre-shave routine keeps the skin clean. And then the lather that one uses on the beard actually contains a lot of natural essential oils which help nourish the skin. And finally, the shaving process is actually a way to exfoliate the skin, minimizing the beard shadow that may come a few hours after shaving.
Exfoliation is healthy because it gets rid of the outer skin layer which is composed of dead skin cells and dried sebum. This keeps the skin rejuvenated and healthy. And also because it gets rid of the germs. Just clean the razor blade every after stroke.
A Straight Razor is the Most Hygienic Shaving Tool
And while we are on the topic of germ killing methods on your skin, the best razor that you can use is a straight razor.
That’s because it’s the only razor that can provide the closest shave. It has a single, narrow blade that one can easily use in whatever shaving angle to cut hair closest to the skin.
Even better is that it won’t be an incubator for skin germs. A critique against multi blade cartridge razors is that germs often get trapped between the gaps of the blades, along with the bits of hair. This causes a tug and pull sensation during shaving. And when you have these germs, they can easily irritate and infect your skin.
Ditto with a safety razor. While it’s certainly miles better than a cartridge, there is still a risk that germs will be caught in the safety guard. In contrast, the naked blade of a straight razor has nothing to trap germs. It also cleans easily. Just put it in under running water.
So if you’re looking for an awesome straight razor, check out Naked Armor’s selection of high-quality straight razors. Made from Japanese steel and sandalwood, they are luxurious works of craftsmanship.
Even more unique are our blades. They are in between a full hollow and half hollow grind that makes it a versatile tool for all kinds of hair types and all kinds of skills. Whether you’re a newbie or a pro, a Naked Armor straight razor will give you the most awesome shave you’ll ever have outside of a barber salon.
Check our site for our selection of razors and shaving products.
Related Naked Armor Reads:
A Guide to Beard Grooming (Infographic)
Straight Razor Maintenance
Benefits of Using a Straight Razor
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