If You've Got A Beard, You've Probably Got More Germs Than Your Dog

No offence hipsters, but Swiss scientists have found that there is probably a higher amount of potentially deadly bacteria lurking in your beard whiskers than in the fur of your dog.

Researchers took swabs from the beards of 18 men and the necks of 30 dogs, across a range of breeds -- the dogs, not men -- and compared the results.

What they found was alarming.

Every single man, aged from 18 to 76, had high microbial counts but only 23 out of the 30 dogs had the same result, the rest had moderate levels.

Seven men had bacteria levels so high they posed a genuine threat to human health.

"On the basis of these findings, dogs can be considered as clean compared with bearded men," Professor Andreas Gutzeit, of Switzerland's Hirslanden Clinic, told the Mail.

The hair-raising findings were actually an accident.

Researchers were looking into whether there was a risk that humans with facial hair could pick up a dog-borne disease.

But we're being urged to take these surprising findings with a grain of salt.

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"I think it's possible to find all sorts of unpleasant things if you took swabs from people's hair and hands and then tested them," Keith Flett, founder of the Beard Liberation Front told the publication.

"I don't believe that beards in themselves are unhygienic. There seems to be a constant stream of negative stories about beards that suggest it's more about pogonophobia than anything else", he said.

FYI, pogonophobia is an extreme dislike of beards.

What's lurking in between those whiskers? IMAGE: Getty

The research comes just days after a combined University of Western Australia and University of Zurich study found that men with bushy beards and long hair may have smaller testicles than those who struggle to grow facial fur.

Researchers examined the gonads of more than 100 different primates -- including humans -- and found that males have fallen victim to an evolutionary problem: they can have well-endowed balls or they can be well-adorned with hair.

It's hard to have both because it takes up too much energy.

You can read the whole thing here if you're interested.

To be fair, despite the ramifications of growing a beard, they certainly are popular.

In Australia, the industry is worth more than $500 million each year and is one of the personal care industry's fastest growing areas with no sign of the boom slow down anytime soon.

So you do you, beard growers.