To me, beards are basically bundles of fluff, fuzz, magic and self expression. Although I am biologically excluded from growing this magical facial fuzz, I still enjoy gazing at them from afar and stroking them whenever the situation permits.
Now I am not writing this article to tell you that you should grow a beard. But if you are thinking about growing a beard or if you already have a beard, I am here to tell you that that is a good idea and that I support you. Because beards are wonderful and that is scientifically proven.
A study published in the May 2013 issue of Evolution and Human Behavior looked at how facial hair influences the perception of attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting ability. Participants, both male and female, were shown pictures of ten men who were clean-shaven, had light stubble (five days of beard growth), had heavy stubble (ten days of beard growth) and who had full beards. The pictures with heavy stubble were rated as the most attractive, although men thought that full beards were equally as attractive. Men with full beards were perceived as the healthiest individuals and they received the highest rating for parenting ability. And, of course, as the amount of facial hair increased, so did the perception of masculinity.
What more could you ask from your beard? Plenty! There are many benefits to beards beyond their status and their beauty alone.
Associate dean and a professor of radiation physics at the University of Southern Queensland, Alfio Parisia, told NewsMaxHealth.com about a recent Australian study. “The research found beards can block anywhere from 50 [percent] to 95 percent of UV rays reaching the skin under beards, helping to decrease the skin photo-aging process that comes with UV rays and reduce the risk of skin cancer.”
Experts have also suggested that facial hair, especially mustaches, can help men with allergies and asthma by working as a filter and catching dust, pollen, and other allergens before they trigger a reaction.
Not everyone has to be part of the trend. If you, like me, can’t grow a beard or you would prefer not to, don’t feel pressured. Just buy one of those beard hats and together we will try to make do.
Disagree? Cick here to read an opposing viewpoint: "Bad News Beards."
Illustration by Colleen McNally.