Is your beard really that dirty? Maybe not

Grossed out by recent reports that your beard is a bacteria magnet? Well, don't get out that razor just yet.

According to Nick Evershed of the Guardian, the study that revealed beards contain just as much fecal bacteria as a toilet could be a bit misleading.

>> Previous story: Study: Beards are filled with bacteria and 'as dirty as toilets'

"As far as I can tell, there was no proper study, no team of microbiologists and no poo in beards," Evershed writes. The origin of the story appears to be this segment from a TV news network in New Mexico, which involved a reporter swabbing men’s beards and then sending the swabs to a microbiologist in a lab to culture any microbes present.

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"The reporter then interviewed the microbiologist, John Golobic, who identified a few of the bacteria present as 'enterics' – that is, they are bacteria that normally live in the intestines."

While that doesn't exactly sound like a good thing, "bacteria known to associate poop is not necessarily literal poop," Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post points out. And bacteria is everywhere – not just on beards.

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So, what's the verdict? Either way, your best option remains lots of hand washing, a thorough beard scrubbing and keeping your hands away from your face as much as possible. 

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