[caption id="attachment_90181" align="alignnone" width="607"] This is Australian football player Hal Hunter. You don't know him, but his beard is awesome and he's probably going to live forever because of it. (Photo via Tumblr)[/caption]
Gentlemen, they're not just for hipsters and the homeless any more. While both dead sexy and totally awesome, beards are also a boon to your overall health. Researchers discovered that men with beards and moustaches actually enjoy numerous benefits including, but not limited to, instant handsomeness.
A study from the University of Southern Queensland, published in the Radiation Protection Dosimetry journal, found that beards block 90 to 95 percent of UV rays, thereby slowing the aging process and reducing the risk of skin cancer. Got asthma? Pollens and dust simply get stuck in that lustrous facial hair. Additionally, all that hair retains moisture and protects against the wind, keeping you looking young and fresh-faced. What's more, shaving is usually the cause of ingrown hairs and bacterial infections that lead to acne.
Have you tossed your razor in the trash yet?
To conduct the study, researchers left bearded mannequins, along with less attractive, follically-challenged ones, in the blistering sun of the Australian outback and then compared the amount of radiation absorbed by each.
But don't forget to take care of those blessed follicles; beards can also spread infection if not properly cared for and make consumption of certain foods (e.g. cheeseburgers, corn on the cob, falafel sandwiches—anything with hummus actually, bagel 'n' schmear, syrupy pancakes) rather laborious. Fuzzy-faced men would be wise to take advantage of beard wash and beard oil, essential tools for looking and feeling your beardy best.