Journalism is, at its core, a public service. This is why several days ago the reporters at Action 7 News in Albuquerque, New Mexico, decided to investigate just what, exactly, teems within the beards of the polity. They swabbed the whiskers of a handful of local men and took the results to Quest Diagnostics.
The results were the kind that medical labs don't leave on your answering machine:
Several of the beards that were tested contained a lot of normal bacteria, but some were comparable to toilets.
“Those are the types of things you'd find in (fecal matter),” Golobic said, referring to the tests.
Even though some of the bacteria won’t lead to illness, Golobic said it’s still a little concerning.
But are these results typical? Are they limited to these few unfortunate Albuquerqueans? Or is kissing a bearded man the bacterial equivalent of directly applying a sample lipstick that's chained to the makeup display at Target?
Some doctors have suggested that beard hair can be a bristly breeding ground for germs. “Beard hair; it’s coarser. It has the shape of a bayonet, a round, convexed bottom and then comes up the side to a point,” Carol Walker, a consultant trichologist at Birmingham Trichology Centre, told the U.K.'s Daily Mail. “The cuticles on the hair—which are like layers of tiles on a roof—trap the germs and grease."