Last year a study came out that linked beards with a face full of fecal bacteria. Well, “study” might be a generous term; the story ultimately amounted to a local news TV news reporter who conducted an extremely unscientific experiment and reported her results on what must have been a painfully slow news day. Combine pseudo-science with the popularity of beards, and with no competition from actual news, you’ve got the components for a viral news story!
And also, a bullshit news story.
Though many pointed to the fact that the original study was conducted by a TV reporter as evidence that the story was false, an actual study using actual science has resurfaced recently that should be all you need to refute the assertion that “your face is covered in shit germs.”
Originally published in the Journal of Hospital Infection (everyone’s favorite feel-good zine), 408 male hospital workers – some with and some without beards – had their faces swabbed by researches with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The results? Clean-shaven hospital workers were three times more likely to have methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, on their faces.
Let’s take a moment to explain something: You know how sometimes people go into the hospital for routine surgeries, then end up dying from an infection? MRSA is one of those infections. It most often just ends up causing mild rashes, zits, and sometimes boils that have to be drained surgically, but it can also cause deep infections in bones, UTI’s, poison the blood, and freaking DEATH.
And Dr. Babyface is THREE TIMES more likely to be carrying it around on his face.
The researchers who discovered this hypothesize that shaving can cause micro-abrasions on the face that make male hospital workers more susceptible to MRSA.
In all fairness, the presense of MRSA on a person’s face doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to end up on yours.
It also doesn’t mean it’s not.
So hospital workers, do us all a favor. Keep your face full of hair, so it won’t be full of deadly bacteria.