I’ve had a beard for three years now, so when I heard that whiskers might have health benefits, I decided to investigate. Doctors weighed in.
Claim: Beards protect against sun damage.
What the doctor says: “Guys who have less hair tend to get more sun damage,” says Rye Brook dermatologist Andrew Bronin, MD, who is also associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine. “Hair reduces the UV exposure by about a third.”
Claim: Beards trap allergens, preventing asthma attacks.
What the doctor says: “It’s very unlikely a beard will have an appreciable effect,” says 30-year beard-wearer Allen Dozor, MD, chief of the Pediatric Pulmonology, Allergy and Sleep Medicine Division at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. “No matter how many allergens are caught in a beard, there still will be plenty to get past that defense.”
Claim: Beards warm the throat, warding off coughs.
What the doctor says: “The amount the beard would affect temperatures would be so minimal, it would not prevent viruses, coughs, or colds,” says Mount Kisco Medical Group’s Ross Levy, MD.