If you have a bearded man in your life or sport a beard, steel yourself. Beard germs are real.

The Hirslanden Clinic in Switzerland conducted a study to find out if infections could be transmitted from canines to humans (and vice-versa) if they used the same MRI scanners. As part of the study, researchers swabbed the beards of 18 men and fur on the necks of 30 dogs. The specimens collected from all 18 men, and 23 dogs (out of 30) showed significantly high microbial counts, while 7 dogs were found to have pathogens that are potentially toxic to humans.

“In this prospective multi-center study, we showed that dogs do not pose a significant hygiene risk to humans even if they utilize the same MRI scan facility,” the research stated – in a report published in the Journal of European Radiology, in July 2018.

Several research studies over the past few years have attempted to elucidate the merits of sporting facial hair, whilst others suggest that clean-shaven men are three times more likely be harboring pathogens such as methicillin-resistant staph aureus (MRSA), that are resistant to antibiotics.

“Our study shows that bearded men harbor a significantly higher burden of microbes and more human-pathogenic strains than dogs,” said Professor Andreas Gutzeit, from Hirslanden Clinic. “On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean compared with bearded men,” he added.

Socialist historian Keith Flett, founder of the Beard Liberation Front (BLF), an informal British network that campaigns against pogonophobic discrimination, debunked the findings of the study, stating that most of the bacteria that were identified are also found on human skin and hair. Though bacteria levels in a man’s beard may be higher than the bacterial levels in Fluffy’s fur, it is unlikely to cause illness. Bearded men may actually be healthier than clean-shaven men – and just as healthy as our pet dogs.


Beard trends come and go, and so does stubble rash. Our editors have rounded up 5 award-winning products to keep your beard and skin in pristine condition – don’t blame us if you find yourself lingering in the shower a little longer!

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