From thick mustaches to bristly beards, full-on facial hair is 2015’s style trend for men. And not to totally scare you away from a guy who sports the lumberjack look, but his unshaven face might be hiding an unhygienic secret. Though the risk is small, chin and cheek hair can harbor germs that can cause icky things like herpes, fungal infections, or even a dangerous staph infection. Make direct contact with one of these bugs, and you may end up with skin issues of your own.
“If a guy doesn’t groom his mustache and beard properly, they can become a breeding grounds for germs,” says Debra Jaliman, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. That’s partly because the wiry hairs trap sweat, bodily fluids, even bits of food, all of which serve as cafeterias for microbes that may then be served up to you.