Put Down the Razor: Your Beard Isn’t Filled with Poop
Headlines around the globe this week blasted the news that beards—which have become rather trendy of late—are filled with poop. The New York Post headline read “Bearded men have poop on their faces” and the Huffington Post reported “Beards are Covered in Poop: Study.” Pretty hilarious reading, but did a study actually find that beards are as “dirty as a toilet”?
First, these news outlets are playing pretty fast and loose with the word “study.” Essentially a TV station swabbed a few beards, had a lab run some analysis, and then interviewed a single microbiologist about the results. It pretty much violates all the things we look for in a study: publication in a peer-reviewed journal, significant sample size, adequate controls, clear methodology for data interpretation, etc.
Second: the “study” didn’t find the beards contained poop. It found the presence of some microbes that also happen to be found in our guts and feces.
We’re all covered in bacteria. No matter how many showers you take (or how many times you wash your beard) you can’t remove bacteria. And you don’t need to—bacteria is a essential to our health! This is just another classic case of media misinterpretation of science.