Beards are a growing trend among British men, with 42% now sporting some form of facial hair.
Despite face fuzz proving more attractive to the opposite sex than clean-shaven looks, it would seem the popular look falls short in the hygiene stakes.
A new study has found beards carry a ‘significantly higher’ amount of bacteria compared to a dog’s fur.
As part of the research, conducted by the Hirslanden Clinic in Switzerland and uncovered by the Mail on Sunday, scientists took swabs from the beards of 18 male subjects and the necks of 30 dogs of different breeds.
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When the results were compared, all of the beards were found to have a high microbial count – compared to only 23 out of 30 of the dog swabs.
What’s more, seven subjects’ beards harboured bacteria that was harmful to human health.
“The researchers found a significantly higher bacterial load in specimens taken from the men's beards compared with the dogs' fur,” said study author Professor Andreas Gutzeit.
“On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean compared with bearded men,” added Gutzeit.
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It’s yet to be seen how many beard lovers – male and female alike – change their minds after reading the results of this study. However, last week Kit Harington fans called it an “utter travesty” after he shaved off his trademark fuzz.
One described Harington’s new look as “offensive”. Another social media user wrote, “Kit Harington’s attractiveness really is reliant on that beard, huh?”