Monday, May 13, 2013

Beard research

Last week I ran in to two different studies about beards.  This was interesting, as it's not normally a hot topic in academia.  

My Dad has a beard, and except for two brief occasions, has had one my entire life.  Thus I was interested to see that beards might actually help keep you young.  Apparently the block UV rays from getting to your skin and help prevent skin damage.  My only question would be if this helps your whole face or just the part covered by the beard (Dad you could be like 23 under there!)

Second, there was this report on two studies where researchers tried to find out which type of facial hair women found most attractive.  Apparently it's stubble.  The study that ruled out beards apparently took women from cultures where men did not traditionally wear beards (Somoan/Polynesian) and showed them pictures of men clean shaven, and pictures of the same men after 6 weeks of growth.  The rated clean shaven more highly.

Studies that focus on attractiveness levels like that are always a little strange to me, especially with something like facial hair.  While having a control group is good for a study, most people do not choose their facial hair style at random...they go for what they're comfortable with/what looks good on them.  Some men can rock a beard, some look goofy.  There's a context here that a controlled study misses.  

Also, beards not trimmed for 6 weeks are gross.  I've seen sports teams during winning streaks.  Things get yucky in a hurry.  

While we're on the topic, apparently there's a website called Awesome Beards.  Enjoy!


  1. That settles it, based on the first study I'm growing my beard back. I'm not worried about the second study as I'm married and no longer have to worry about my looks.

  2. I will always remember the first time you saw me without my beard - you cried!

    I don't get the "stubble" thing. 40 years ago, stubble simply represented "unkempt" not attractive. There seems to be some cultural bias in that one.

    I am going to keep the beard and keep my skin young! Thanks for the reinforcement of ideas (to go along with a "weak chin" as your mother has always said).