Men Who Shave More, Live More
By Jennifer Warner
Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD
on Tuesday, February 11, 2003
WebMD Medical News
Feb. 11, 2003 -- A clean-shaven face may be the sign of a happy and healthy man. A new study suggests that men who don't shave daily have fewer orgasms and are more likely to suffer a stroke than stubble-free men.
British researchers followed 2,438 Welsh men between the ages of 45 and 59 over 20 years and found their shaving habits were significantly related to their health in some unexpected ways.
One-fifth of the men who didn't shave daily were less likely to be married, had sex less often, and were more likely to smoke, have heart problems, and work in manual, blue-collar occupations than other men.
In addition, of the 835 men who died during those 20 years, only 31% were daily shavers compared with the 45% who shaved less than daily.
Those findings are published in the Feb. 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Researcher Shah Ebrahim, a professor in the department of social medicine at the University of Bristol, and colleagues say they also found a strong association between shaving frequency and stroke risk.
Men who didn't shave every day were nearly 70% more likely to have suffered a stroke during the study than others. And that increase in risk did not go away after adjusting for other lifestyle factors known to affect stroke risk.
Researchers say hormone levels may be at least one possible explanation behind the link between shaving and stroke risk. Low levels of testosterone and high levels of estrogen produce slower beard growth, and these hormones may also play a role in the development of heart disease and stroke.
Although the study also found a slightly higher risk of death due to heart disease and deaths in general among less frequent shavers, researchers say those effects might be due to other factors, such as higher smoking rates and other negative health habits found among this group of men.
In fact, after adjusting for these factors, the link between shaving and these risks became much fuzzier.