Beards In The Great Outdoors: Pros and Cons
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Men, do you have a beard? Has the call of the wild given you the itch to grow one?
Women, do you have a man with a beard or a man who wants to sport some scruff?
Beards keep growing in popularity but do they serve a greater purpose than making you look like a rugged outdoorsman? Whether you’re hiking, backpacking, trekking, mountaineering, camping, kayaking, canoeing, or fly fishing… beards have added benefits all men and their women can appreciate. Let’s take a look…
Related Content: Beard Care On Outdoor Adventures
Pros of Having a Beard in the Great Outdoors
Clothes may make the man but a beard defines the outdoorsman.
Check out the 19 benefits of having a beard in the great outdoors.
A Beard Makes You Manlier
Beards are God-given testaments to your manliness.
- Beards enhance masculinity by amplifying jaw size.1 Don’t like your chin, jawline, scars, or face shape? You can improve the shape of your face and cover up imperfections with a beard.
- A beard can hide that baby face.
- Beards exaggerate the viewer’s perception of ruggedness, virility, and strength.
- Perceived masculinity increases with the heaviness of the beard. Want to be seen as highly masculine? Let your beard grow.2,3
A Beard Makes You More Attractive
Research has found that women find men with beards more attractive.2,3
- The stronger-looking jawline of a bearded man may provide a signal of health for women.
- Beards are a signal of age. They make younger men look older and can make older men look younger by hiding the ravages of time.
- Beards signal masculine social dominance.
- Beards are an attractiveness factor for women picking long-term relationships.
- Women perceive bearded men to be better fathers and protectors of future children… Full beards are rated highest for parenting ability.
- The masculinity ratings of bearded men are rated higher by women who are in the ovulation phase of their menstrual cycle.
- Masculinity and thus attractiveness increase as facial hair increases.
- What do these add up to? A better sex life!
Having trouble finding a woman. Grow your beard! Looking for a long-term relationship and kids. Grow a really full beard.
What a simple way to increase your attractiveness! And if your wife’s more attracted to you… uh-huh… wink, wink… nudge, nudge… 😉
Added Sex Appeal: Tossing Wet Beard
Ever seen those sexy photos of women tossing their wet hair at a pool, beach, or lake? You could look sexy slinging your wet beard!
A Beard Makes You Look Wise
Whether you’re thinking about the adventures of SpongeBob SquarePants or contemplating the origin of the universe. Stroking your beard will give you the perception of being in deep thought.
Stroking your beard may even improve concentration and problem-solving abilities. Give it a go and see what you think. Don’t, however, twirl a finger in your beard. That’s the opposite of wise and cancels out all manliness. Practice a manly technique.
Caution: The sound of rubbing your whiskers together may irritate others around you. My wife periodically asks me to stop looking (sounding?) so smart.
A Beard Makes You an Instant Leader
The increased manliness, sex appeal, and confidence that come with your beard will make you an instant leader. People will look to you for guidance, especially in times of crisis… Better have your outdoor skills down.
Beards Build Confidence
Your new leadership role and your perceived wisdom along with increased manliness and attractiveness are all great self-confidence boosters. Embrace the benefits! Or is it beardefits?
You May Appear to Be Holy
Images of God, Jesus Christ, and other holy leaders are pictured throughout the centuries as having beards.
Can’t you see yourself hiking along with your walking staff… I mean trekking poles… with your beard blowing in the breeze?
Please don’t hike in a long white robe or the white bathrobe you lifted from the Holiday Inn.
Related Content: How To Adjust Your Trekking Poles For Various Terrain
Beards Reduce Allergies, Asthma, and Colds
Beards help filter out dust, allergens, and airborne bacteria from the air you breathe. Your beard may potentially reduce allergy symptoms, asthma, and colds. Remember to regularly wash your beard to remove these contaminants.
Beards Produce Antibiotics to Fight Staph Infections
Certain bacterial species are more prevalent in men without facial hair than those with any type of facial hair.
There is a combination of effects in play. Shaving causes micro-abrasions that aid bacterial colonization and beards produce antibiotics capable of killing various bacterial strains.4,5,6
These natural antibiotics found in beards could possibly be developed into commercially viable antibiotics.
No Shaving Benefits
The benefits of not shaving include:
- No more razors slicing up your face. As mentioned in the previous point, razors produce micro-abrasions or a gash or two that can breed bacteria.
- Beards produce antibiotics to fight bacteria on your face to keep you healthier.
- Shaving can cause ingrown hair, irritated follicles, and acne.
- Shaving takes time. Think about that time added over months and years. Yes, you will have to groom your beard but it takes less time than shaving daily.
Beards Moisturize Your Face
It sounds sort of gross at first but your sebaceous glands produce oil to moisturize your skin. Beards help trap those oils keeping your skin from getting overly dry.
Beard moisturizers you’ll likely use in grooming will help protect your skin as well. Beard oils will soften your facial hair and nourish the skin beneath.
Beards Protect Against Sun Damage
Scientific studies have proven that a beard can prevent sunburn and skin cancer by blocking and absorbing up to 95 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays. Thicker and longer beards provide the best protection so go wild!7,8
Don’t forgo sunscreen elsewhere though, especially in exposed areas of the face. These areas are high-risk areas for developing skin cancer. Consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat with sun-protective fabric too.9
Beards not only protect and prevent sunburn and skin cancer they reduce other skin damage caused by sun exposure like wrinkles, dark spots, and saggy skin.
Already have the wrinkles? A beard can hide wrinkles, a wobbly jowl, age spots, and more to make you appear younger.
A Beard Insulates Your Face and Neck
Beards are face coats from God designed to protect you from the weather. Grow it long enough and you have a scarf too!
Beards are warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Yep, they can actually keep you cool. Sweat or water in your beard and a breeze provide a kind of air conditioner for your face.
Beards are great for protecting you whatever the weather: wind, sun, cold, snow, sleet, dust storms… They act as a coat, windbreaker, scarf, sunblock…
Beard Icicles Look Super Cool
I remember when I was first looking into fly fishing and saw this guy fishing in winter with icicles in his beard. My immediate thought was, “So freaking cool! I want to do that!”
Condensation created by breathing or moisture in freezing temperatures can cause beard icicles to form.
Beard icicles may not keep you warm but they sure look cool!
Beards Protect Against Mosquitos
Mosquitos are a nuisance we can live without. Though you shouldn’t forgo the bug spray, that pesky mosquito will have a hard time getting through your beard to suck blood from your cheeks, your neck too if your beard grows long enough.
Hmmm… Speaking of bloodsuckers… Vampire deterrent? I guess a vampire can still get through the thickest beard. Consider storing garlic in there if it’s a concern on those backpacking trips through Transylvania.
Beards Provide Food Storage
Beards conveniently collect food for those lean times ahead on the trail.
Longer Beards Serve as Picnic Napkins
Did you forget the napkins on your romantic hiking date? No problem! You can use your beard to wipe your mouth. If you’re lucky, maybe she’ll wipe the jelly from the PB&J on your beard too. Better in your beard than resting on her chin, right? (See “Beards Provide Food Storage” above.)
Related Content: 10 Reasons Why A Hiking Date Is A Great Idea
Beards Provide Self-Expression and Style
There are so many cool beard styles an outdoorsman can choose from. The possibilities are almost endless. Tired of your look? Add a beard and trim it into a style you love!
From stubble to the iconic beards of ZZ Top. Beards offer a unique form of self-expression and personal style.
Cons of Having a Beard in the Great Outdoors
Being Mistaken for a Bigfoot or Yeti
If you become so rugged as to be mistaken for a bigfoot or yeti, we at OtterBee Outdoors offer our sincerest apology. We are not responsible if you are shot, captured, put on display, or photographed for profit.
Related Content: Beard Care On Outdoor Adventures
- Barnaby J.W. Dixson, Anthony J. Lee, James M. Sherlock, and Sean N. Talamas. Beneath the Beard: Do Facial Morphometrics Influence the Strength of Judgments of Men’s Beardedness? Evolution and Human Behavior. Volume 38, Issue 2, March 2017, Pages 164-174.
- Barnaby J. Dixson and Robert C. Brooks. The Role of Facial Hair in Women’s Perceptions of Men’s Attractiveness, Health, Masculinity and Parenting Abilities. Evolution and Human Behavior. 34(3):236–241, May 2013.
- B.J. Dixson, D. Sulikowski, A. Gouda-Vossos, M.J. Rantala, and R.C. Brooks. The Masculinity Paradox: Facial Masculinity and Beardedness Interact to Determine Women’s Ratings of Men’s Facial Attractiveness. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 2016 Nov;29(11):2311-2320.
- E. Wakeam, R.A. Hernandez, D. Rivera Morales, S.R. Finlayson, M. Klompas, and M.J. Zinner. Bacterial Ecology of Hospital Workers’ Facial Hair: A Cross-Sectional Study. The Journal of Hospital Infection. 2014 May;87(1):63-7.
- Matthew Stock. Beard Bacteria Could Lead to New Antibiotics. Reuters: Health News. February 2, 2016.
- A.V. Parisi, D.J. Turnbull, N. Downs, and D. Smith. Beards Hide Antibiotic and Can Be Good for Your Health. BBC News. 20 Jan 2016.
- A.V. Parisi, D.J. Turnbull, N. Downs, and D. Smith. Dosimetric Investigation of the Solar Erythemal UV Radiation Protection Provided by Beards and Moustaches. Radiation Protection Dosimetry. 2012 Jul;150(3):278-82.
- A.V. Parisi, D. Smith, P. Schouten, and D.J. Turnbull. Solar Ultraviolet Protection Provided by Human Head Hair. Photochemistry and Photobiology. 2009 Jan-Feb;85(1):250-4.
- Sun Safety. Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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