Science proves me right!

I agree with the title of this article: Beards Keep You Young, Healthy & Handsome, Says Science. Furthermore, I find their conclusions totally copacetic.

Gentlemen, they’re not just for hipsters and the homeless any more. While both dead sexy and totally awesome, beards are also a boon to your overall health. Researchers discovered that men with beards and moustaches actually enjoy numerous benefits including, but not limited to, instant handsomeness.

A study from the University of Southern Queensland, published in the Radiation Protection Dosimetry Journal, found that beards block 90 to 95 percent of UV rays, thereby slowing the aging process and reducing the risk of skin cancer. Got asthma? Pollens and dust simply get stuck in that lustrous facial hair. Additionally, all that hair retains moisture and protects from the wind, keeping you looking young and fresh-faced. What’s more, shaving is usually the cause of ingrown hairs and bacterial infections that lead to acne.

Not noted, because their methodology was to leave bearded and unbearded mannequins in the bright sunlight of the Australian outback while measuring radiation absorption, is that they also keep your face warm in Minnesota winters.

Also not noted is that the way they make you more handsome is by hiding half your homely face.


  1. =8)-DX says

    Soooo… theoretically women should be at a higher risk for skin cancer, asthma and colds, and should age faster?
    Something fishy is going on here – I must shave today!

  2. Rip Steakface says

    Unless you’re me, in which case your beard is pitiful and doesn’t grow in anywhere except the neck, and is a completely different color from your head hair.

  3. bcmystery says

    Hiding half my homely face is the primary reason I have a beard. I guess this anti-radiation thing is okay too, though.

  4. borax says

    I trimmed my big bushy beard short last week and now I have a cold. “Proof” I say, “Proof.” I’ll be publishing my results in a totally legit online journal as soon as I feel better.

  5. Louis says

    This is clearly all lies paid for by Big Beard. Teach the Controversy. Approving of PZ’s Beard is clearly only possible by cherry picking the data. Mocking beards must continue unabated as a genuine civil good and a matter of Freeze Peach.


  6. tfkreference says

    “keeping you looking young and fresh-faced”

    But the young and fresh skin is under the beard – oh, it’s like a plastic slip cover on a sofa.

  7. Louis says

    Come and see the violence inherent in the system. Help, help, I’m being oppressed.

    I’ll be banned for beard-dissent next. There’s not enough unshaven people on this blog. YouTube comments are better than here because they allow people to shave. We all know feminists have big beards, it’s a conspiracy, you’re just as bad as militant users of Veet like pornographers in Hollywood.


  8. dantelevel9 says

    What they don’t mention is the female factor in this equation. I once wore a full beard and it looked great! I’ve got a pronounced chin (not Leno big) and the beard softened that nicely. But, then I met a gal, fell in love, etc. And what do you know, kissing and other erotic activities weren’t quite as comfy for her. Hirsute was not her suit. Beard burn is a lot like rubbing your skin with sand paper, or so I’m told. So, off it went. I think that decision may have prolonged my life in other less quantifiable ways.

  9. Artor says

    I’ve been wearing a beard ever since I could grow one. I have exceptionally thick eyebrows, so the lower facial hair is necessary to balance them. Last time I shaved, I looked like a geeky teenager again, but one whose face was being attacked by carnivorous caterpillars.
    I take exception to the pollen-capturing properties being listed as a benefit though. I have a severe grass pollen allergy, (blisters on my eyeballs! Arrgh!) and having something hold a bunch of pollen close to where I breathe is not a good thing.

  10. frog says

    For a fellow with a strong jawline and chin, a beard is probably at best neutral in terms of attractiveness.

    For the guys with weak chins or who are a bit jowly, a properly maintained beard can be used to create the illusion of a strong jaw and chin. Contrast Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean and as Blackadder II. Truly, Mr. Atkinson’s changing facial hair across all the Blackadders demonstrates what a difference a beard or mustache can make.

  11. kmk05 says

    On a serious note, though, women are constantly told ‘take care of your skin! Moisturise! Makeup!’. We’re made much more aware of skin problems (wrinkles, etc) much earlier, and there’s pressure to conform and buy skincare products. Because of this is many brands now include SPF and depigmentation and retexturisation components de facto in products at all price points. Makeup also provides an opaque barrier (depending on how much you put on, the initial coverage, and the skincare ingredients in it). The combination of both tends to slow down the sun’s aging effect.

    For asthma and colds, I have…nothing. I’m resisting the urge to go look for statistics.

  12. robro says

    I’ll have to tell my wife that to help with her allergies to pollen, she just needs to grow a beard. I let it grow now and again, particularly when she’s away, but she won’t let me keep it. Now I know, it’s just a clever scheme to get rid of me.

  13. UnknownEric is just a spudboy, looking for a quantum tomato. says

    Without a beard, I look like Alfred E. Neuman, so…

  14. A Hermit says


    “Some are big and some are small
    And some men don’t have one at all
    My Grandma had one I recall
    But ladies beards aren’t beautiful…”

  15. otrame says

    All this talk of beards is reminding me that I used to not have one. Ah, those were the days.

    They never talk about that. Menopause they mention. Arthritis, yeah. Wrinkles, you bet. Nobody told me I would have to start shaving in my old age.

    Am I succumbing to gender role rigidity because I don’t want to grow out my beard?

  16. John Horstman says

    Is chin cancer really that common?

    I really wish I didn’t have to deal with facial hair; it’s itchy, traps sebum and food, and is just generally annoying. I envy everyone who can go days without needing to shave.

  17. says

    I always thought my facial hair growth was too weak and sparse to have a real beard, but what do you now. A year of not giving a shit or owning a razor has proven me otherwise.
    As an 18-19 year old in the military I got away with shaving once or twice a week.

  18. The Mellow Monkey says

    My brother began growing a beard at the age of sixteen. He’ll be getting his Bachelor of Science in Physics at the age of twenty this year. Surely, the two are connected.

  19. says

    Beard burn is a lot like rubbing your skin with sand paper, or so I’m told.

    it’s itchy, traps sebum and food, and is just generally annoying.

    People: Shampoo. Conditioner. Trim. It is entirely possible for a beard to be clean and silky soft, like having a kitten on your face.

  20. Matt Penfold says

    People: Shampoo. Conditioner. Trim. It is entirely possible for a beard to be clean and silky soft, like having a kitten on your face.

    I’ve never been able to stand the itching whilst it grows. I get to about 3 days of growth and it is so itchy I am kept awake.

  21. says

    I’ve never been able to stand the itching whilst it grows. I get to about 3 days of growth and it is so itchy I am kept awake.

    Are you sure you didn’t shave them, eh, lower parts? :P

  22. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    My face’s skin is in remarkably good shape for someone who doesn’t moisturise, only puts on sunscreen when going out into the actual sun, and last wore any makeup maybe 7 years ago? And that was for attending a wedding. My theory is that the makeup clogs up your pores and does bad things to your skin.

    This is my theory and I’m basing my lack of regimen on it. That I’m fairly lazy in that respect and can’t be stuffed spending the time on it all is a bonus.

    I rarely shave either.

  23. Matt Penfold says

    My only skincare regime is not to use shaving cream when I shave because that dries out my skin. Instead I shave after a shower, and use baby oil to lubricate my face.

  24. UnknownEric is just a spudboy, looking for a quantum tomato. says

    I enjoy pensively stroking my beard whilst staring at the computer screen. It makes it look like I’m doing something intellectually rigorous, plus it feels soft and springy, like a summer’s morn.

  25. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    I am thirty-*mumble*, and I shave about once every 4 days. Everyone else on both sides of my family can grow a beard just by thinking hard about for a few moments. It is monstrously unfair, I would love an epic beard.

  26. robro says

    …like having a kitten on your face.

    This is difficult to understand coming from an avowed acatist.

  27. magistramarla says

    Just so my hubby (also part of the horde) doesn’t read this and get inspired.
    Growth of facial hair = no kisses from me.

  28. fastlane says

    My cat loves my beard, therefore, it stays.

    Coincidentally, my wife also prefers me with the beard, so it stays.

    Ironically, I originally grew it as part of my character for renfair, and was going to get rid of it. But SWMBO likes it.

  29. Rossignol says

    I’d like to weigh in on the side of SCIENCE and REASON and FACIAL HAIR. My beard keeps me warm, gives me a much-needed air of gravitas, and also I am too lazy to shave. The SO is perfectly fine with it as well, he refers to our kisses as ‘moustache high-fives’.

  30. Rossignol says

    Ah yes, I’d like to second fastlane as well, it is much easier to pretend to be a norseman or pirate, as well.

  31. cardinalsmurf says

    “But the young and fresh skin is under the beard – oh, it’s like a plastic slip cover on a sofa.”

    I much prefer to think of it like the bra on a Corvette.

    “…silky soft, like having a kitten on your face.”

    Please don’t make me visualize it as a separate entity attached to my face. Most disturbing! Cute or not, I eat from this hole! No cats!

  32. betelgeux says

    I’ve never really examined PZ’s beard. It has excellent form, with a finely crafted shape that perfectly fits (and complements) PZ’s face. There is a tasteful blend of gray and brown hairs, and a near perfect neatness quotient. It’s a bit lacking in flowiness, but it makes up for it with its exquisite color scheme: whereas some men with gray beards and brown hair seem to suffer from color discontinuity, PZ’s silver beard makes a lovely pair with his chestnut hair.

    Overall verdict: a solid 8 on the Hudson-Sklar Beard Index (named after the two greatest beards in the music business: keyboardist Garth Hudson and bassist Lee Sklar).

  33. says

    Louis @11:
    You should put in disclaimers. A pitter might be lurking round these parts. You know they like to twist any/every-thing to attack PZ with…

    As for beards, I prefer goatees. Beards are a little too much and when kisding a guy with a beard, it is rough on my delicate, tender skin.
    Beards are for the sophistimacated elite. Like professors.

  34. sinned34 says

    I’m surprised nobody has yet mentioned The Beardly.

    I love my beard. It’s intimidating to forwards on the other team when I get it long enough to stick out the bottom of my goalie mask (most of the players in my hockey league are college students, and few of them can grow a decent beard. I’m in my mid-30s and can grow a beard like a stereotypical viking). Sadly, my wife usually forces me to trim it down once it reaches that glorious length.

    plus it feels soft and springy, like a summer’s morn

    Yeah, you can never have too much spring in your summer mornings.

  35. qwerty says

    This post reminds me of a college professor whose wife insisted he keep his beard as, without it, he was rather chinless.

  36. Lofty says

    Like having a kitten on your face.

    Enquiring minds must ask: which way is the kitten facing? Claws in or out? Who determines kitten-ness?
    (face kitten, yeah.)
    Personally I am a bit miffed.
    Mohair is supposed to be soft and fine, mine isn’t.
    I still have my first electric shaver I got for my 18th birthday. It isn’t worn out 30+ years later because I decided shaving is for suckers. Beards are great but must be kept washed and vermin free.
    My barber does a beard trim the same time as a haircut, and doesn’t charge extra. I have saved many hundreds of dollars.
    The women* in my life love to run their fingers through my beard. Interestingly it is as soft to their fingers as my mo is tickly to my wife’s toes.
    *Mother especially.

  37. Happiestsadist, opener of the Crack of Doom says

    A hermit @ #22: Pfft, speak for yourself! Some of us rather like them.

    Ariaflame @ #32: I’m curious as to how exactly inert pigments, some moisturizer and maybe sunscreen or anti-acne stuff would damage skin. I mean, as long as you wash your face like a normal person. But then, I’ve worn makeup most days over half of my life now, and still get carded when I buy a drink and, weirdly, have been complimented on my skin by strangers, when barefaced or not.

    On the other hand, skin that is prone to grumpiness, like that on my body much of the time, does do better when not shaved and when it’s generally gently treated, so I see how this would apply to faces as well. This is why my pits are also soft, fluffy and kitten-like.

  38. says

    Happiestsadist, I think Ariaflame meant that makeup provides a barrier and thus *protects* the face from radiation damage. I don’t wear it, but I do use sunscreen and moisturiser. I’d rather have a beard in winter, though – nice and warm. Speaking of which, A Hermit: booo to you!

  39. Happiestsadist, opener of the Crack of Doom says

    Alethea: “My theory is that the makeup clogs up your pores and does bad things to your skin.”
    Some can definitely clog pores, though, I won’t disagree there. But as opposed to a lot of the older stuff *shudder*, most modern makeup isn’t actually damaging, and can be beneficial.

    I have frequently longed for a nice dwarven beard in the wintertime, I am a terrible wuss for cold.

  40. pacal says

    I only got a goatee mainly because my beard is pretty patchy outside of my moustache and chin. However I love having it and it definitely warms your face in winter. I also can’t stand shaving.

    As for feeling like sandpaper I love the feel of a beard rubbing me and so does my partner and yeah it is silky smooth. As for itching well regular shaving rips your skin to pieces creating many many tiny scabs in your skin. So that when you stop shaving and thus ripping your skin to shreds; your skin has a chance to heal and that is why it itches. When I stopped shaving 15 years ago, ( I could finally grow a beard of some kind.), after a few days it itched like crazy has it healed then after a week and except for one ingrown hair has not itched since.

  41. loopyj says

    I thought that shaving makes a man look younger, not only because of a lack of facial hair but because shaving exfoliates the skin.

    I don’t mind a little scruff, but beards, especially those creepy mountain-man/goat-boy hipster beards, are not appealing.