It\u2019s enough to make any bearded germophobe reach for the razor \u2014 a 2015 study claims that most beards are as dirty and bacteria-filled as household toilet seats.\nA local news station conducted the study, in which several men\u2019s beards were swabbed and analyzed. The result? The beards contained \u201centeric bacteria,\u201d a part of the human biome that is also found in fecal matter. The findings were enough to make the article go viral on the Internet and birth a new urban legend.\nBut does the study actually hold up?\n\r\n \r\n \nMore fun health facts, delivered to your inbox. Sign up for the HealthBeat newsletter\n\r\n \r\n \r\n *\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \n\nHow Dirty Is Your Beard?\nIs your beard truly as dirty as a toilet? Probably not. There is no significant evidence to suggest that most beards are unclean or a significant source of harmful bacteria.\nThe station swabbed a few men\u2019s beards and discovered some examples of unfavorable bacteria. But they didn\u2019t swab any clean-shaven men\u2019s chins. If they had, there\u2019s a good chance they would have found similar bacteria on those chins, too.\nSome of the bacteria in the beard study is comparable to bacteria commonly found on toilets and in human feces. Gross, right?\nHere\u2019s the thing: Those same bacteria can be found on dozens of other surfaces you touch each day, and they usually pose no harm to you. In fact, trillions of bacteria live on or in our bodies without threatening our health.\nRELATED: What Your Fingernails Say About Your Health\nSo, Should I Shave My Beard?\nIf you\u2019d like to, sure \u2014 but not because of germs.\nAs long as you regularly groom and clean your beard, as you do the hair on your head, you are not at greater risk for disease than people without beards.\nScience is just beginning to learn about the many species of bacteria that live within our bodies and what purpose they serve. We do know that most bacteria isn\u2019t bad for us \u2014 many are beneficial and, in some cases, required for good health.\nBest ways to care for your beard\n\nA few times a week, shampoo and condition your beard just like you would your hair.\nTrim your beard, whether long or short, to eliminate split ends and keep it healthy.\nKeep up healthy habits, like a eating healthful diet and getting plenty of sleep. Also, take care not to get food in your beard when eating.\nExpert dermatology care in Pennsylvania, when you need it. Learn about eDermatology.