Gentlemen, you can now toss your sunscreen along with your razors.
A study published in the Radiation Protection Dosimetry journal by the University of Southern Queensland found that beards block 90 to 95 percent of UV rays. Holy hair, Batman!
“The facial hair reduced the exposure ratios to approximately one-third of those to the sites with no hair,” the study states.
To conduct the study, researchers left bearded mannequins, along with less attractive, follically-challenged ones, in the blistering sun of the Australian outback and then compared the amount of radiation absorbed by each.
Researchers found that the ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) provided by the facial hair ranged from 2 to 21. Longer beard hair provides a higher UPF at a smaller solar zenith angle, though this difference decreases as the SZA increases. Protection from erythemal ultraviolet radiation (UVR), however, is not very high, particularly at the higher SZA. All of these factors help slow the aging process and reduce the risk of cancer.
Other beard enthusiasts have found the following added benefits of beard growth:
-Got asthma? Pollens and dust get stuck in that lustrous facial hair.
-Hair retains moisture and protects against the wind, keeping you looking young and fresh-faced.
-Shaving is usually the cause of ingrown hairs and bacterial infections that lead to acne.
So let ‘em grow wild and free (or trim and tamed, if you prefer)! But don’t really throw away that sunblock. Other, perhaps less bearded, docs say it’s good for the rest of your body parts.