NEW YORK -- Beards are the hottest style trend for men right now, but there could be a downside.
"A beard could become problematic," said Dr. Daniel Yadager.
Yadager explained that the coarseness of beard hair can provide a ripe environment for bacteria.
"I think things get trapped in there, so bacteria can be trapped in there and can grow as a result," he said.
Beard bacteria can be transmitted to the mouth and possibly cause illness. It could also be transmitted to others.
In addition to bacteria, "viruses can be passed from person to person through contact and a beard would be a point of contact for that," Yadager said.
Having a beard can also sometimes lead to skin infection.
"You can end up with painful bumps on your face. Sometimes they can drain. They can definitely be unsightly. Sometimes they can scar," said Dr. Marie Leger of NYU Langone Medical Center.
It's called folliculitis -- a painful inflammation caused by ingrown beard hairs.
"It was kind of like torture because the right side of my face was hurting for a few days," one man who learned from experience, Jeff Owens, told CBS2 New York.
But experts say there's no need to ditch the beard; you just have to maintain it properly.
Men's Health magazine editor Brian Boye said upkeep is the key to preventing problems.
"Wash it regularly. Keep it conditioned with hair conditioner or beard oil. Those are the two simplest things you can do," he said.
Boye said some men think a beard is less work than shaving, but that's not necessarily true. He added that if you're not up for the upkeep, clean-shaven is the way to go.
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