Like me, a lot of men choose to have facial hair for the aesthetic value, but it turns out a mustache acts as a kind of shield.
University of Kansas researchers looked at a bunch of men who were diagnosed with actinic keratosis on the head or face– it is a scaly spot on the skin that can develop into squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. They found that men who had a long history of sporting substantial “sheltering” mustaches (one that is at least a third of an inch thick—think Andy Reed or Sam Elliott) had a 16 times lower risk of developing actinic keratosis on their lower lip compared to their peers who never had a mustache. This held even when researchers took other risk factors into account. Study author Dr. Daniel Aires adds that growing a mustache now might not really help, as the men in the study had them for years and years, of course it doesn’t hurt to wear sunscreen or ask Santa!