Growing A Beard Was Once Medical Advice

Before the Victorian era of the mid-1800s, a bearded man was not a common sight. The enlightened man was one with a clean shaven face-beards were reserved for the rebellious. Around the 1850s, doctors began prescribing beards for men to prevent illness. The idea was that beards acted as a sort of air filter that "capture the impurities before they could get inside the body." However, the opposite may be the truth. A study in Behavioral Ecology says that "hair on the face and body are potential localized breeding sites for disease-carrying ectoparasites." Whether the beard seemed to prevent illness or not in the Victorian era, it at least sparked a new trend in facial hair.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. In the early decades of the 19th century, a man with a clean shaven face was the norm. 00:52

  2. Up until the Victorian era, beards on men were seen as symbols of physical and cultural unconventionality. 02:32

  3. According to Elizabethan legend, there were people who would calibrate the strength of villains by looking at the length of their beards. 07:10

Written by Curiosity Staff January 29, 2016

Curiosity uses cookies to improve site performance, for analytics and for advertising. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies, our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.