Men With Beards Carry More Germs Than Dogs

by Thea Glassman
Image via Getty/Scary Mommy

Dogs are actually cleaner than men with beards, according to a new study

Do you kiss someone with a beard on the regular? Prepare to gag a little (a lot). A new study found that men with beards actually carry more germs in their fuzzy faces than a dog’s fur. So, yeah. Romance is officially dead.

Here’s the whole furry deal. Researchers at the Hirslanden Clinic in Switzerland tested the beards of 18 men and found that each contained bacteria, according to The Daily Mail. The researchers then compared those human samples with samples taken from the necks of 30 dogs, and discovered that the humans had higher microbial counts. Seven of those men had microbes that could actually pose a threat to their health. The dogs, meanwhile, had “significantly” lower bacteria.

Dogs – 1. Men – 0.

“Our study shows that bearded men harbor a significantly higher burden of microbes and more human-pathogenic strains than dogs,” Professor Andreas Gutzeit, who works at Switzerland’s Hirslanden Clinic, told The Daily Mail. “On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean compared with bearded men.”

Officially prepared to say goodbye to any sort of physical affection with your bearded amour and devote all of your kisses to your very loving, reasonably clean dog? Not so fast, Keith Flett, founder of the Beard Liberation Front, said. Flett leads an informal network of bearded people and told The Daily Mail that this study is just part of a long line of bad press for his hairy peeps.

“I think it’s possible to find all sorts of unpleasant things if you took swabs from people’s hair and hands and then tested them. I don’t believe that beards in themselves are unhygienic,” he said. ‘There seems to be a constant stream of negative stories about beards that suggest it’s more about pogonophobia than anything else.” (Pogonophobia = deep dislike of beards.)

This isn’t the first time that scientists found a boatload of bacteria in beards. John Golobic, a microbiologist from Quest Diagnostics, swabbed “a handful” of bearded men in Albuquerque, NM and discovered that the hair “contained a lot of normal bacteria, but some were comparable to toilets.” Pardon me while I gag.

He added: “There would be a degree of uncleanliness that would be somewhat disturbing.” However, WebMD pointed out that Golobic didn’t swab men without beards so there’s not really a good scientific comparison being set up.

If you would like to have a stern chat with your bearded partner about all of this, you might want to suggest a three-pronged approach to fighting all of this stubborn bacteria. According to University Pittsburgh Medical Center, people with beards should shampoo and condition their facial hair a few times a week (just like you’d do to the hair on your head). They should also get regular trims and engage in healthy eating and sleeping habits because healthy habits = healthy hair.

Here’s hoping that people with beards tackle this whole bacteria issue ASAP. In the meantime, I guess we’ll be saving all our kisses for our dogs.