Men’s grooming has changed in the last few years.
Long gone are the days of men with hairless bodies and short haircuts. The current age is the time of the beard and the man bun. It seems that the hairier a man is, the more attractive he is today. But, is there a biological reason that some of us find men with beards so good looking?
Recent studies have suggested that beards are not just hot. A great beard can also help a man stay healthy. In terms of biology, healthier mates are often more attractive as well.
One of the biggest reasons that beards can help a man remain healthier for longer is because it protects his face from the sun. The sun, although the source of life, can cause different types of cancer for those who spend too much time in it. A study from 2011 showed that beards offer a unique kind of UV protection. This is perfect on days when someone forgets to put on sunscreen.
According to the 2011 report, facial hair reduces the exposure ratios of the face to one-third compared to areas of the face that do not have any hair. Having a beard provides natural protection against skin cancer. Although skin cancer is not as common as other types of cancer, it can often be caught too late and require drastic medical intervention to save the life of the patient.
The beard does more than just protect men from skin cancer. Facial hair can also slow down the aging process for a man’s face.
This works two ways. The barrier that protects the skin from cancer also helps to prevent sun damage, including lines and spots. Plus, facial hair helps the skin to retain moisture. By protecting his face from the wind, a man’s beard helps ensure that the moisture does not leave the skin.
The hair follicles on a man’s face also help keep the skin moisturized. These follicles produce oil that aims to protect the hair. When the oil is released, it also helps grow thicker skin. This thicker skin helps to prevent the damage caused by aging.
A good beard can also help protect men from the dreaded flu. This is because a beard also helps keep men warmer during the cold months. All the extra hair works as insulation around the face and neck. Helping to keep the whole head warm can help protect the immune system from being shattered by the cold. In turn, this helps men ward off the flu and stay healthy all year round.
The extra layer of insulation provided by a beard is essential in cold areas. A study by Yale demonstrated that certain cold viruses actually thrive in cooler temperatures. The virus is also able to replicate faster when it lives in the cold air. As a result, a cold virus would rather live in the nose than in the lungs, where the body temperature is more heavily regulated. When combined with the fact that cells in cold areas struggle to fight off viruses as effectively as warmer areas, the beard seems like a great idea for keeping out the cold.
Although few realize it, shaving can cause skin infections. Since having a beard requires a man to ditch his razor, there are other benefits to having a beard.
There is some evidence that forgoing the razor can help protect men from certain infections. Issues like folliculitis and pseudofolliculitis barbae are exacerbated by shaving.
Folliculitis is a common condition. It happens when the hair follicles are infected by bacteria or fungi and then become inflamed. This condition often results in itchy skin that becomes inflamed and red. Severe infections can also result in pain as well as well as blisters that break open. Some infections become so bad that medications like antibiotics are needed to get rid of the infection.
A beard is actually a great health tool for men who suffer from asthma and allergies. Coarse facial hair is a great filter for keeping out hazards and allergens like dust, pollen, and mold.
But not just any beard will help prevent allergies — a moustache is key for this. Moustaches are what protects these allergens from travelling up into the nasal passageway. This works because pollen is sticky and is likely to be trapped by a beard or moustache if it is near a person’s nostrils.
Moustaches can even trap dust. However, this may not be a good thing — few men want a dusty moustache. Also, if the beard is moved, the dust can very easily move right up into the airways. But there is a way to remedy this issue — all a man needs to do is grow a bigger moustache.
People are naturally attracted to mates who are healthy. Since beards have so many health benefits for the men who grow them, it’s no wonder that so many people find them so attractive.
Featured photo credit: Blondinrikard Fröberg via flickr.com