Your Beard Isn’t Just Keeping You Handsome — It’s Good For Your Health, Too

There’s research to prove it.

Beards are important to us. It’s a symbol of rugged masculinity, the true accessory of a manly man. In fact, they are so important that some baby-faced guys who can’t grow beards on their own are opting for beard transplants. While that particular is on the rise ( there almost twice as many beard transplants in 2014 as in 2012), others beard disciples are using their face blankets to make brew. If these two practices prove anything, it’s that our beard obsession has never been stronger.

Some haters claim that beards are over. constantly encouraging us to cut our beards. Some argue that it’s time for you shave, especially if you’re starting a new job (which is false). These tyrannical “work appropriate” aesthetics police would rather have us baby faced and exposed to the elements than basking in our natural state.

And to that we say: hell no. Why? Because our beards aren’t just the source of our power — they’re actually keeping us healthier.

Scientists in Australia have found that, for men, the beard is man’s natural sunscreen. Writing in the Oxford journal Radiation Protection Dosimetry (don’t ask), researchers found that facial hair actually reduces the skin’s exposure to ultraviolet rays to approximately one-third of the exposure of those with fresh faces. In fact, beards are capable of providing protection equivalent to SPF 21. Check your girl’s sunscreen dude; it’s probably only SPF 15.

Sure, there’s some stipulations with how long or how short your beard needs to be (get over half an inch, and anything over 3.5 inches doesn’t really matter) but facts are facts: UV ray exposure can cause skin cancer, skin cancer can lead to death. But that’s not all: Mental_Flosspoints out that beards to way more than just protect against cancer:

Beards are also good at capturing dust and pollen, which sounds like bad news for people with asthma or hay fever. Instead, they work like fuzzy fortresses, protecting your nose, eyes, and mouth from irritants. What’s more, an impressive coat of facial hair retains moisture and acts as a barrier against harsh wind, keeping the skin underneath fresh and youthful.

Your beard is keeping you healthy and handsome. Why shave it?

Photos by Juanito Aguil/Wire Image