We are clearly pro-beard here at Bear Grooming so when we look into the issue of whether beards really keep you warm in the winter you may think you already know the answer… Well if the answer is yes, then you would be right but there is a little more to it than that. Here is why…
Beards have been proven to be great things, not only as facial companions but it has been proven through many different experiments that partners see bearded men as better long term partners, and in fact bearded men have cleaner faces than clean shaven men. The real question is though, do beards really keep you warm in the winter?
As far back as 1854 you can find philosophers discussing the topic with Mr Thomas S. Gowing believing that a beard’s function is to protect ‘some of the most susceptible portions of our frame from cold’. In fact modern science has looked into this very belief. A study carried out in China in 2012 compared the temperature of the skin of almost 100 men’s upper lips to their upper cheeks.The findings suggested that covered upper lips (moustaches) were on average 1 degree warmer than the upper cheeks, which are hairless. Suggesting that men without a moustache are more likely to lose body heat from a susceptible bare upper lip. These findings can also be extended to the rest of the face.
So that is that solved then. Beards do really keep you warmer in the winter, better trapping your own body heat.
There are even scientists such as Michel Cabanac who suggest that beards may actually be too good at retaining body heat. As a result evolution has stepped in to ensure enough heat can escape from your head and face (one of the main and only areas people leave uncovered). As too much heat in the cranium can lead to your brain overheating and that is a genuine health risk. Not to worry though clean shaven or not, it doesn’t have an ongoing effect as his tests found – it is something buried deep within you genes.
He believes that hereditary male-pattern baldness is in fact a side effect of evolution of men who had big, bushy beards. He attempted to perform a study to better understand this theory in which he followed 39 men over 10 years. He found that men with higher beard lines, shaved or not – had the most receding hairlines! So he could well be on to something there, although it did find that having a beard or not today, had no ongoing effect on your hairline. So no need to freak out and shave off your life long friend! In fact, make sure you are keeping it looking in top shape with a dab of oil and a little wax.
So there you have it, beards do keep you warm in the winter and in fact may be too good at doing so! So perhaps a full beard and a woolly hat may be too much – maybe one or the other should do the job.