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Seen At 11: Are Beards Bad For You?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Beards are the hottest fashion trend for men right now, but there could be a downside.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, beard wearers beware: it may look good, but it could also be bad for you.

"A beard could become problematic," said Dr. Daniel Yadager.

Dr. Yadager said there could be health issues related to beards since the coarseness of the 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," Dr. Yadager said.

Beard bacteria can be transmitted to the mouth and possibly cause illness. And it can also be transmitted to others, Gainer reported.

"Viruses can be passed from person to person through contact and a beard would be a point of contact for that," Dr. Yadager explained.

And having a beard can 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, with 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," said Jeff Owens.

But experts say there's no need to ditch the beard all together.

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 upkeep, clean-shaven is the way to go.


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