Besides making you look great, mature, and responsible, there's one advantage of having a beard that may not have crossed the minds of our bearded brethren wherever they may be. That advantage is that the bush that we carry around on our chin provides you protection from the sun. Yes! You have your personal "sunblock" right on your face!
In a 2011 study conducted by scientists from the University of Southern Queensland, through the use of mannequin heads:
- One with a long beard
- One with a medium sized beard
- One with only some facial hair.
Each mannequin had a device to measure the amount of UV radiation that would hit that area of the head over a period of time. The result? The more facial hair present, the decrease in exposure to UV radiation in that particular area. In fact, the ultraviolet protection factor(UPF) provided by the different lengths ranged from 2-21. This means that your beard is capable of blocking up to 95% of UV rays in that specific area.
What this Means for You
Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to early ageing and damage to your skin. In addition to these effects, prolonged exposure increases your chances of getting skin cancer. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation:
- 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70
- More than 2 people die of skin cancer each hour
- Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for Melanoma.
This only further proves just how awesome your beard really is. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should completely stop applying sunblock, as that is still the most effective way to protect yourself from sun related issues down the road.
Nevertheless, as the summer months continue, you can be proud of yourself for maintaining that beard, knowing that it is an effective tool against protecting that particular area against UV rays. So go ahead and continue growing your beard, because in this case, bigger is definitely better.