Bacteria in Mustaches & Beards

I wanted to bring this to the attention of anyone who has facial hair or someone who has a spouse or partner with facial hair because most do not realize just how much bacteria is being spread to their loved ones or as a bacterial growth medium for their own health issues and spreading it to their children, partners and family members. Everyone needs to think about this.

Did you ever notice how men tend to constantly stroke their beards and mustaches? Each time they do this they are spreading bacteria and anything else they have touched onto their facial hair. This also applies to any facial hair including the one or two day growth. The beards, mustaches goatees and any other styles of facial hair are also a catch-all for food, beverages, saliva, nasal discharge (a nice way of saying snot), dead skin cells, etc. and sexual activity. Even if you washed your hands, did you wash the hair on your face which you have been stroking all day?

When you went to the restroom, did you wash your hands? Did you handle yourself when taking a pee? It would be difficult to tuck yourself away after doing so if you didn’t. Did you flush the toilet with your hand? Did you lift the seat with your hand? Did you wash your hands with soap? My point being to highlight the many sources of bacteria. If you handle yourself when going to the restroom or scratch yourself or eat and drink beverages and anything you touch is being transferred to your facial hair every time you stroke your beard, etc.  Then there is smoking which transfers to facial hair as well.

Do you have pets? Pets lick themselves then you pet them and that bacteria transfers to your hands which transfers to your facial hair you keep stroking.

Do you kiss your children, wife, girlfriend, partner? All that bacteria in your facial hair has transferred to them and any bacteria they have such as children wiping their nose on their clothes or baby or all the things they handled without washing are being exchanged with your facial hair.

This bacteria in the facial hair can cause acne and cold sores and seborrhea and all manner of gross things. They are scratchy and the constant stroking coats the facial hair with skin oils, dead skin cells, pet saliva, your saliva, pet dander and all manner of bacteria I listed above.

I had a spouse who had a mustache and a bad case of seborrhea around that mustache. It was also a nest for psoriasis. Selsun Blue shampoo helped eliminate Seborrhea and Psoriasis to some degree by leaving it on affected areas for about 15 minutes, then washing it off. But the thing that worked the best was his shaving the mustache off. All the seborrhea and irritated skin cleared up as soon as he got rid of the bacteria holding mustache.

If you are going to have facial hair, then you need to frequently wash your hands and your face and facial hair with appropriate soap or facial and hand cleanser to eliminate bacteria. Facial hair is also a carrier for cold germs, flu virus, and a plethora of other bacteria and viruses  which someone may have coughed upon you which you carried home to your family. Think about the welfare of your family. Is their health worth wearing a beard or facial hair? I know that the males in the movie business tend to wear beards to ward off any unwanted attentions from coworkers but they can just say no instead. Besides, facial hair makes them look 15 to 20 years older than they are.

Just a few tips and tidbits I thought men should know about the hazards of facial hair.

I am not a doctor, nor am I in the medical business. I’m an engineer and research scientist. Please see a qualified doctor or medical practitioner or hospital as needed for medical advice or treatment. I can only share my observations on these issues.





This is something I’ve never had, but I can share how I was able to prevent it. As a teen, I always gently cleaned my face twice a day (morning & bedtime) with liquid disinfecting soap (Phisoderm) and alcohol after I rinsed off the soap. It is important to eliminate bacteria from the face but not to over scrub too vigorously. You want to clean your face not damage it. Teen’s hands pick up bacteria throughout the day and becomes transferred to the face whenever they put their hands on their face. They often rest their faces in their hands, perched on their elbows while seated at their desk and tend to handle their faces during the day at school. It is also important for them to bathe daily and shampoo their hair regularly. Shampoo at least every other day. Otherwise, bacteria and oils from the hair will contaminate the face as they handle the hair and their face.

Smoking is also detrimental on having a nice complexion. So you may have to decide whether smoking is more important than a nice complexion. It certainly will not help the situation. Smoking robs  the skin around your mouth of oxygen which kills skin cells and also allows deep creases to develop as you get older. The smoke also deposits a film and contaminants on the skin just like air pollution will. In fact, these pollutants and contaminants are the reasons for using a light protective lotion on the skin after cleaning to act as a barrier against these contaminants from getting on your skin or into your pores. When you clean your face at bedtime, it removes the makeup, lotion and any pollutants or contaminants embedded in them. I only recommend an astringent after cleaning while sleeping because everything will stick to lotions while you are sleeping. But it is up to you if you wish to wear a lotion at night. It is not necessary for teens like it would be for the skin of someone older.

Teens also tend to use too heavy makeup. Base makeup should be applied lightly so not to block pores. Almay is best. Makeup should always be removed every night before bedtime. If not wearing makeup or if a male, then an astringent after cleaning the face at bedtime. In the morning, a light, fragrance free, non pore blocking lotion to protect the skin from pollutants or sunlight as appropriate. Olay has several good products such as regenerist to protect the skin. But the best face treatments I have seen by far are actifirm… but this is best to arrest aging rather than teen skin but has excellent gentle cleansing products. The important thing in lotions for the skin is to be fragrance free, light weight, without any harsh ingredients. Just a light protective covering which doesn’t block the pores.

Keeping the hands clean and making a concerted effort not to handle the face is important. The twice daily cleaning should kill the bacteria and remove contaminants. The astringents and lotions protect the skin from bacteria and pollutions between the cleanings. These are the key elements of preventing acne. It is bacteria, oils and contaminants which cause acne. Not food, although improper diet or greasy foods can reduce your natural defenses, increase skin oil & increase blockage of the pores. The increase of hormones for teens can also increase the oils in your skin which harbor bacteria. However, if you scrub or damage your skin, you are removing your natural protection of your outer skin layers and inviting bacteria to embed in the damaged skin areas. A poor diet and lack of vitamins will also impede your skin’s ability to heal and withstand bacteria. Biotin is essential for healthy skin, nails and hair. 2000 mg daily (adult dosage) will help keep skin and hair healthy. If you are not eating right, a daily multivitamin would also be beneficial. Extra vitamin C may also be beneficial since it helps in healing wounds.

Just by cleaning your face gently, twice a day with something to kill bacteria and remove oil and contaminants will be the most effective prevention of acne you can do. The reason these commercial acne treatments are successful is because they promote the regular cleaning of the skin. As long as it kills bacteria, removes oil & contaminants without harming the skin and promotes the twice daily cleaning ritual, it should produce positive results.

In my case, the phisoderm cleaned away the oils, contaminants and bacteria. The alcohol dried out the oils, removed any residue contaminants or soap and killed any remaining bacteria. At that age, dry skin is a benefit not a detriment as it is when you get older. Older females usually give the opposite advice to teens that they should follow. What works for older skin does not work for teens skin.

The lightly applied, fragrance free makeup I wore protected my skin like a lotion. Most teens tend to use far too much base makeup. It is thick, unnatural, blocks their pores and makes them look like the pancake makeup on a corpse. Base makeup should be applied lightly downward. If you apply it upward, you are going against the facial hairs and creating a fuzzy orange appearance. Never apply makeup in the opposite direction of face hairs.

For dry flaky skin on arms & legs, there is a soap at Whole foods called “South of France” Lemon verbena which remarkably improves dry, flaky skin on older skin. It does not work for deodorant purposes so a deodorant soap would still be needed, but this soap is great on skin in general… but I never use bar soap on my face.

I was fortunate that I never developed any acne. I feel it was this daily ritual which was effective.

Here are the key issues:

  • Causes
    • bacteria
    • oily skin
    • contaminants
    • touching or handling face
    • Touching pimples & spreading bacteria
    • failure to wash hands
    • not washing hair enough
    • failure to bathe daily
    • over scrubbing face
    • heavy makeup
    • heavy lotions
    • harsh soaps
    • fragrance or harsh ingredients
    • failure to clean face regularly
    • lack of vitamins or proper diet
  • Preventatives
    • clean face gently twice daily (morning & bedtime)
    • phisoderm & alcohol applied gently with cotton pads
    • bathe daily with antibacterial soap (on body, not on face)
    • wash hair at lease every other day
    • light weight lotion or lightly applied makeup base
      • Almay makeup
    • no fragrance or harsh ingredients
      • Olay regenerist or actifirm
    • no pore blocking products
    • Wash hands frequently
    • Carry hand sanitizer with you
    • Do not touch or handle face
    • Do not touch pimples. It will spread bacteria & create more acne.
    • avoid greasy foods
    • Biotin 2000 mg (adult)
    • multivitamin
    • Vitamin C

If you do get acne, it is important to kill the bacteria with alcohol every 4-6 hours and to apply an appropriate antibacterial topical. It is imperative not to touch the pimples because this will spread the bacteria and cause more acne to develop. If the area becomes red and inflamed and hot, an antibiotic or prescription ointment may be required from your doctor. My son got a terrible infection on his face and chest from acne because he was not properly cleaning his skin and was handling his skin with bacteria on his hands. It required antibiotics and medicine from the doctor which cleared it up quite quickly.

Do not allow acne to go for prolonged periods without being examined by a doctor. These infections can become quite serious in addition to permanent scarring and psychological trauma. Especially if acne is on body as well. Too many parents ignore the acne and don’t realize that doctors need to treat serious infections or extensive breakouts. If it is more than a few mild pimples, it should be seen by a doctor.