By Sean Zucker –
What comes to mind when you think about someone with a beard? A lumberjack, too preoccupied to groom? Your barista, far too into Radiohead? An older man, seasoned by life? Okay, sure, that’s natural because beards have often signified, among other things, maturity and old age. Recent studies, however, report that beards may actually be a tonic to make you feel and look younger.
The University of Southern Queensland in Australia notes that beards block up to 95 percent of the sun’s UV rays, protecting the face from various forms of skin damage that can result in premature aging and damage signs such as wrinkles, leathery skin, liver spots, actinic keratosis and solar elastosis. Better yet, a Cast Away level beard isn’t necessary to grab these benefits, as Queensland University found that even a modest amount of scruff can protect your face from a majority of UV rays and prevent sun damage.
Here’s another potential reason to toss your razor. Sporting a ZZ Top signature is a natural moisturizer for your skin. By acting as a barrier to wind and cloth textures, beards naturally facilitate moisture by retaining the natural oils skin that help keep the cheeks and chins smooth. Skipping shaving can also help prevent facial blemishes, such as razor rash, acne and folliculitis.
Okay, but what about fears that bushy beards are a repository for food crumbs and creepy crawlers? Just the opposite. Microbiologist Dr. Adam Roberts reported in 2016 that beards may hold the secret to longevity because they host bacteria that have antibiotic properties. Roberts, in fact, found that many beards contained bacterial growths capable of killing harmful microbes and fighting various diseases.
Roberts’ study has led some to suggest that the antibiotic properties in beards may be the solution to antibiotic resistance. Medical News Today, for example, reported more than 2 million people in the US develop antibiotic-resistant infections every year and more than 23,000 people die as a result. The Roberts study found that the antibiotic beard bacteria was actually able to kill a form of drug-resistant e coli, suggesting they may be able to also combat other drug-resistant diseases.
The bottom line? Maybe think about bagging your razor to look better and live longer.