We really need to make up our minds about beards. One week, a study will hit the Web saying that beards make us look sexy and virile. The next week, another study will claim that beards are bacterial cesspits, and we'll all go and stockpile razors.
Now, yet another study is muddling things up. The study, published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, found that clean-shaven men are actually filthier. This comes just a few months after another batch of scientists reported that beards can trap the kinds of bacteria found in fecal matter (read: face toilets).
For this new study, researchers swabbed the faces of over 400 hospital workers for various pathogens (and you complain about your day job). They found that baby-faced dudes are up to three times more likely to host antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (or staph infection) than bearded men are. Scientists suspect that the micro-abrasions caused by shaving create an environment ripe for bacterial colonization and proliferation. So, you really shouldn't go too hard on your shaving routine.
Seeing that a seemingly contradictory study may crop up any day now, let's think this over. Beards trap fecal bacteria, although the micro-abrasions of shaven faces support bacterial growth. It looks like we definitely need to find a happy medium — a bit of stubble, perhaps? After all, a previous study found that women think heavy stubble is your sexiest option.