A new study makes some people think twice about kissing their bearded partners, or even let those with beards kiss the baby, but there is a lot to unpack here.
According to Swiss researchers, bearded men carry more bacteria than dogs. Much more. But read on before sending dad to the bathroom with a razor and ask him to pull out a Jason Momoa (yes, he recently shaved – RIP, Aquaman's beard).
As reported by the BBC, scientists rubbed the beards of 18 men and the neck of 30 dogs. When they compared the samples, they learned that barbs have a higher bacterial load than dog fur.
However, the types that love their beards are already refuting the way in which science was reported in the media, and pointed out that the sample size in this study was super small and, more importantly, that the scientists did not clean men without beards.
The study was not even about beards, really. The point of the study, which was published in July 2018 in the journal. European radiology, was to determine if veterinarians could borrow human MRI machines to scan dogs without posing a risk to human patients.
"Our study shows that bearded men harbor a significantly higher burden of microbes and more pathogenic strains for humans than dogs," the authors wrote, noting that when MRI scanners are used for dogs and humans, they are cleaned very well afterwards. of veterinary use. and actually have a "lower bacterial load compared to scanners used exclusively for humans."
Another important point to keep in mind is that most bacteria are not really dangerous for humans, and some can be really good for us (that is why some scientists want us to let our children get dirty).
This small study should not cause a beard panic, it was only supposed to show that dogs and people can safely share an MRI machine. However, there is previous research on beards and bacteria suggesting that not all are bad.
Another study conducted in 2014 and published in the Journal of hospital infection He examined a much larger sample of human faces (men who work in health care), with beards and clean shaves, and actually discovered that people who shaved their faces carried more staphylococci than those with facial hair.
"In general, colonization is similar in male health workers with and without facial hair, however, certain bacterial species were more frequent in workers without facial hair," the researchers wrote.
A year after that, a local news station in New Mexico made its own "study" on beards, one that was not very scientific but went viral and caused a wave of headlines that insist that beards are as dirty as toilets That statement has been discredited.
So, before forbidding bearded people from kissing the baby (or yourself), consider that we all have some bacteria on our faces. Dads should certainly wash their beards well, but they are not as dirty as a toilet.