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Not just manly, there could be health benefits to growing a beard

Thursday - 7/3/2014, 11:51am  ET

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It turns out that besides being intimidating, Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Brian Wilson's beard could have health benefits. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Nicole Curtis, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Beards offer more than just a symbol of masculinity.

A recent article by Mother Nature Network shows having a beard can benefit your health.

The study says beards protect against the sun. Beards block 90 to 95 percent of UV rays, slowing the aging process and reducing the risk of skin cancer, according to the University of Southern Queensland.

Dermatologist Dr. Nick Lowe tells Mother Nature Network that hair generally offers good protection against sun.

"It's similar to an SPF," he says. "The higher the hair density and thickness, the higher the SPF."

Facial hair near the nose reduces asthma and allergy symptoms, according to the study. Experts suggest that mustaches can also act as a filter and stop allergens before they settle in.

See Mother Nature Network's full list of health benefits of beards.

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Tags: beardshealth