Thinking of growing a stylish beard? They’re not just for hipsters and lumberjacks any more. In fact, there are actually a number of health advantages to having a beard.
There’s no denying that beards have their drawbacks–they can be itchy and they require constant maintenance (unless you’re going for that trendy disheveled look), but their health advantages definitely outweigh their disadvantages…
1. Beards Protect your Face from the Sun
The more exposed you are to the sun, the more likely you are to develop nasty skin conditions, from simple (but painful) sun burn to skin cancer.
Here’s the thing about beards: they actually protect (part of) your face from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (or UV) rays. Not only will that keep your skin healthy, it will keep it looking soft and supple. Health experts agree that skin that’s repeatedly exposed to the sun is more likely to develop skin cancer, sun damage, and wrinkles.
2. They Keep you Warm
Unless you’re a fan of snowmobiling, snowboarding, or ice skating, winter kind of sucks. And there’s a good reason for that: it’s generally really, really cold. But a beard can help you beat old man winter.
Surprisingly, facial hair can actually act as a barrier of protection against the cold, helping keep you warm. Beyond that, it can prevent cold wind from whipping against your face, keeping it moist and staving off uncomfortable dryness.
3. Beards Help Prevent Throat Disease
Here’s something you probably didn’t know: having a beard can actually keep throat disease at bay. That’s because facial hair can actually keep certain airborne bacteria from entering your mouth, thereby protecting your throat.
Admittedly, the research exploring this idea is a little dated, but it should be enough to convince someone on the fence about growing a beard to go ahead with it!
4. Beards Prevent Asthma Attacks
Those with serious asthma problems know that pollen and dust can be silent killers. But beards that go north of the mouth and into the nasal area can actually prevent allergens from entering the nose and entering the lungs, according to Dr. Felix Chua, respiratory physician at Harley Street, a London-based health clinic.
That said, a beard can actually store these allergens (and other microscopic fiends, like bacteria), so it’s important to regularly wipe your beard down and use soap and water to keep it clean.
5. Facial Hair Slows the Aging Process
Facial hair can often make a younger man look older. But, somewhat ironically, it can also keep skin looking and feeling younger.
That’s because facial hair prevents water from running off the skin, keeping it moisturized and maintaining a protective barrier on the surface. That can make skin thicker and fuller, keeping it feeling softer and younger.
7. Beards Help Fight Colds
One drawback of having a beard is that it can make you feel warmer than usual. But that’s actually very helpful when you come down with a nasty winter cold, says researchers at Birmingham’s Trichology Centre.
That’s because a beard can actually raise the temperature of the skin, keeping you warm and helping your body fight off viruses. Simply put, keeping yourself warm (and drinking lots of fluids, like water) is key in fighting the common cold.
7. They Prevent Rashes
Men know that there are few things more irritating than razor burn. But guess what? If you don’t shave on a regular basis, you drastically reduce your chances of developing razor burn or other skin rashes and infections.
The problem is that shaving can lead to rashes, ingrown hairs, and other annoying conditions – such as folliculitis (the infection of hair follicles). That means men who are prone to skin problems should strongly consider growing a beard.
8. Beards Save you Time, Relieving Stress
What would you do if you could free up more time? Spend more time with the family? Exercise? Or do other things that help relieve stress?
Let’s face it, shaving takes time–in most cases, about five minutes each day. That’s 2.5 hours a month, or 30 hours each year! Do yourself a favor: grow a nice, long beard and spend more time with your friends and family.