‘The anti-aging properties of growing a beard and mustache.’

Dating back as far as the 5th-century, many great men had searched for the “fountain of youth,” a mythical spring that when bathed in could rejuvenate one’s appearance back to a state of youth. Ironically, the top three most famous of these explorers (please see below) sported beards and mustaches, not realizing that “the fountain of youth” was perhaps under their noses the entire time.


fountain-of-youth-explorers

In modern times, this insatiable quest for the “fountain of youth” has continued, moving from a particular mythical location to scientific advances in beauty products, face creams, serums, and pills. So in a sense, we are still searching for that “fountain of youth,” and still, it may be under our noses.

Recent research has indicated that growing a beard or mustache can have a significant effect on your appearance though not in the most obvious way. In particular, it can deter the aging process beneath the beard.

It is well known that two major factors lead to aging skin, sun damage (the main culprit) and skin damage from chapping and moisture loss in harsh dry conditions. Facial hair, both beards and mustache’s significantly alleviates both of these age-enhancing situations. Facial hair acts as a natural sunscreen, which reduces harmful ultraviolet radiation from penetrating the skin below. If this isn’t enough, a beard or mustache is also an effective face insulator, not only protecting the skin below from harsh, chapping wind but also forming a mini-ecosystem where naturally secreted oils emitted from sebaceous glands remain on your face, keeping it soft, nourished, and youthful.

The Experiment in Queensland 2012

queensland-experiment

As stated earlier, sun damage is the primary culprit in premature aging of the skin. In 2012, an experiment was conducted in the land of the sun, Australia, to study the possible effects that facial hair has on deterring these dangerous rays Scientists built a weathervane contraption with three platforms, each containing a mannequin’s head. Miniaturized dosimeters (UV detecting devices) were placed on the faces of all three plastic heads. The first mannequin was clad with a “short beard” 40 mm in length on the chin (~2 inches), and the second wore a “long beard,” which was a full-on chin curtain. The third head had no beard at all. The researchers took this mannequin weathervane, exposed it to sunlight at different angles, and measured the ERs or exposure ratios. Here is what they concluded.

Click graphic to view at full size

Click graphic to view at full size

As you can see from the results, beards, even short beards, block a significant amount of the ultraviolet radiation that causes damage to the skin. Though we are still on our quest to find the “fountain of youth,” we do know that part of it isn’t made of magical water. It’s made of beards and mustaches.