When You Don't Wash Your Beard, This Is What Happens

Of all the areas of our body most prone to bacterial growth, areas like the mouth, feet, or genitals are probably among the first to come to mind. However, studies indicate that another environment primed for housing bacteria is facial hair —  more specifically, the beard.

Although stylish, when not regularly washed, beards can foster the accumulation of microbes which can lead to the development of other health conditions (via Best Life). A recent study conducted within the last few years examined a series of men between the ages of 18 and 76 as well as 30 different kinds of dogs. It was found that even the most unsanitary areas prone to infection on a dog still proved to be cleaner than the men's facial hair surrounding their mouth. This area showed to be ripe with infection-causing bacteria.

But dogs aren't the only thing beards have been tested against. In the past, researchers at Quest Diagnostics conducted a study on facial hair and determined that of the bacteria found in some of the men's beards, these germs were comparable to the same germs that can be found on a toilet seat (via ABC 7). In an Eyewitness News interview with microbiologist John Golobic who conducted the study, John stated, "I'm usually not surprised and I was surprised by this."

Beards can harbor microbes, bacteria, and lice if not regularly washed

Cleveland Clinic dermatologist Alok Vij, M.D., sheds some light on why beards are so prone to this phenomenon. "Skin cells shed at a rapid and alarming pace," he said. "Whenever dead skin cells and oil from the skin combine with moisture, bacteria, yeast, and every other microorganism you think of, they can hide, grow and proliferate ― and try to take over their little world." Additionally, the staff cautions that a variety of skin infections or conditions can also result from improper facial hair care. As it turns out, beards are particularly susceptible to lice. More specifically, those with curly beard hair are uniquely prone to pubic lice, otherwise known as crabs.

To reduce these risks, medical experts advise keeping your beard as clean as you would the hair on your head or any other part of your body. Through the use of an effective shampoo and a good hearty deep scrub, you can decrease the chances of infection. As an alternative, perhaps consider switching things up a bit and rocking the clean-shaven look if you feel it's time for a change.