Men's Beards May Have Secret Health Benefits

Men's Beards May Have Secret Health Benefits

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ATLANTA, Ga. -

Ted McGorn is showing off his beard way past no shave November.  He started growing it 14 months ago and has not cut it down since.

Why you ask?

McGourn says he, "started growing it just because I could."

He strokes his six-inch beard during his spare time. He says, "It's nice and soft and smooth. Something to do when you're bored."

His coworker C.J. Cook swore off shaving 9 months ago too.

Cook, who works the bar Diesel in Virginia Highland with Ted, says, "I totally just gave it up, no razors, nothing."

And it seems everywhere you look, the beard is back.

"I first noticed it a couple of years ago," Emory dermatologist Dr. Zakia Rice. 

Dr. Rice says that beard may come with hidden health benefits.

She says, "Probably the main benefit is sun protection. There was a recent, really well-done study out of Australia that did show a beard of about ten days length - on average - really does prevent the UV prevent the UV rays from getting to the skin."

Beards may also prevent shaving-related irritation and acne.

They can keep the skin moisturized, and provide natural protection from dust and allergens.

Dr. Rice says, "Theoretically, if you do have a beard, the allergens could get trapped there. If you're not washing your beard regularly, that allergen build up can actually be more harmful than helpful."

Creating the question: How should one upkeep a beard?

Ted McGourn has a special beard shampoo and conditioner and  CJ Cook washes his beard regularly, "Combing it out. Keep it nice and smooth."

Dr. Rice says upkeep is key, "I think in general, you need to wash the beard at least once a day, just like general skin care. You're going to wash it probably with a mild soap."

Ted McGourn discovered there's another benefit to sporting a beard: It's a people-magnet.

He explains, "People talk to you a lot about it. People stop you on the streets. Working at a bar, especially, people think it's okay to get drunk and touch it out of nowhere."

They'll sometimes reach out and give it a tug, he says, "So you can be walking, and like carrying a drink and someone will just yank your beard to the side."

McGourn says his beard is here for good, because, "Girls really like it, so that's probably the best part about it."

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