Your soup catcher may be catching a whole lot more than just soup. A new study suggests your beard could contain harmful bacteria.
Switzerland's Hirslanden Clinic conducted a study about whether humans could catch diseases from dogs when the two shared the same MRI scanner. Though their results suggest we might need to be more worried for the pooches.
The beards of 18 men and the fur of 30 dogs were swabbed as part of the experiment. All 18 men had high microbial counts, with a few testing positive for dangerous microbes. By contrast, only 23 of the 30 dogs showed similarly high counts.
Speaking scientifically, this technically makes your man's beard way grosser than your dog.
Now, there is some explanation here. For starters, beard hair is curlier and more tangled compared to dog fur. This allows it to trap dirt more easily.
And some of it comes down to personal hygiene. A lot of people have grown beards lately, but not all of them are taking proper care of their whiskers.
Much like the hair on your head, your beard doesn't need to be washed every day. But the fact is, you do still need to wash it, maybe apply some beard oil to keep it healthy. I'm not a beard expert, so I dunno, go Google it. I'm sure you can find a guide.
Alternatively, a razor can ensure you keep your face free of dangerous bacteria.
This news hasn't been received so easily by everyone. Keith Flett, founder of the Beard Liberation Front, disagreed with the findings.
In an interview with The Daily Mail, he said,
"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."
"I don't believe that beards in themselves are unhygienic."
He also accused stories such as this and a previous one that found human beards sometimes contain traces of fecal matter to be nothing more than pogonophobia, the hatred of beards.
Which honestly seems a little extreme. It's far more likely humans are just gross.
Still, other men seemed express their skepticism at the study as well.
In the end, there isn't as much to take away from this study as you'd think. It was a very small sample size, and the study was testing for a completely different hypothesis.
You probably don't need to run out and shave, but you might want to look at a proper beard cleaning routine just to be on the safe side.
It's the only way to save face.