Growing a beard is not just a favourite pastime of lazy writers and fashion models. There are enough reasons, including some healthy ones, that make growing a beard worth the effort. Yep, you heard that right – growing the grizzle has benefits. To celebrate International Men’s Day, we give you five:

1. A Beard Helps Fight Bacterial Infections

Let’s start with a healthy reason: Facial hair acts as a shield against bacteria; protecting the skin against the micro-organisms. Also by trapping dust, a beard can help patients with asthma and allergies live healthier lives. In your face, metrosexuals!

2. A Beard Decreases Chances of Getting Skin Cancer

Enough studies have illustrated just how bad UV rays are. For men who don’t apply sunscreen and stay outdoors for long periods, the only protection against these harmful rays is a beard. As a study commissioned by the University of Queensland found out, a beard can block almost 95 per cent of UV rays from hitting your face. Think about that! While sunscreen can vanish after a while because of sweating, a beard will offer permanent protection. Skin cancer in men almost always occurs in the head-face-neck zone – so that beard helps. As the sun also causes signs of aging, having a beard can help you look younger for a longer period compared to someone who is always clean-shaven.

3. A Beard Increases Chances of People Taking You Seriously

Grow a beard Baby-faced men will attest to this. Take, for example, Virat Kohli. Examine his pictures from his U-19 days and then compare them to his designer beard avatar of the last couple of years. He looks older, capable and confident. After all, a man with a well-groomed beard is the ultimate alpha-male. It’s probably why revolutionaries like Karl Marx, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro preferred the bearded look.

4. A Beard Helps Save Time for Important Tasks

Here’s a fun fact: Dr Herbert Mescon of Boston University School of Medicine discovered in 1972 that the average man spends up to 3350 hours of his life shaving. That’s five months of your life! By not shaving, you can focus on more important stuff, like having enough time for breakfast.

5. A Beard Gets You the Girl

This is a killer, no 1 reason for growing a beard: Research carried out in 2008 by psychologists at Northumbria University, UK, found that women found men with stubbles “more tough, mature, aggressive, dominant and masculine.” Another study conducted by the University of New South Wales, Australia, corroborates these findings, concluding that women are more likely to identify men with beards as providers and take a beard as “the surest sign of sexual maturity in guys”. Ready to ditch your razor? Liked this article? Also read: 5 Reasons Every Man Must Go on a Bike Trip With His Friends