Study: Are beards bad for your health?

Look around these days and you'll notice a growing trend, more men are sporting beards. (WGME)

PORTLAND, Maine (WGME) -- Look around these days and you'll notice a growing trend, more men are sporting beards.

That may be why a recent claim that beards are bad for your health caught fire.

CBS 13 took a closer look.

In case you haven't noticed, beards are back, and in some cases, getting longer.

At a barbershop in Portland, the owner says they spend about as much time grooming beards as giving haircuts, and some men are spending a lot more time on beard grooming.

But it's not just about cosmetics.

Keeping a beard clean and well groomed, could be good for your health.

How gross can a beard get? Well, there's some debate about that.

A study done by a New Mexico TV station went viral, after it claimed that an experiment involving swabbing a handful of beards for bacteria, found they contained fecal bacteria.

The headlines were fast and furious, the "New York Post" said, “Bearded men have poop on their faces."

Cosmopolitan said, "New study finds beards are toilet level dirty."

But not so fast, another recent, and some say more “scientific,” study finds otherwise.

"It's really not that much different than the head on your hair, so just shampoo and conditioning, stuff like that," barber Haendel Lamour said.

A study in the "Journal of Hospital Infections" debunks the swab study, instead supporting the idea that beards may actually be more bacteria resistant than clean shaven skin.

As for actual health hazards?

Local barbers say there are a few.

"People who grow their beards out tend to get super itchy, people who shave, you know, or cut it when it's too close tend to get ingrown hair," barber Janae Healey said.

"If you're doing construction and there's tons of dust and there's tons of things going on and you have an open cut or an open wound, it's definitely something that's harder to see," “Crow’s Nest” owner Frank Crosen said.

The beard fashion trend shows no sign of slowing down.

In fact, some barbershops and hair salons are offering more services catering to men with beards, like the beard facial.

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