PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – They’re one of the biggest trends for guys these days – beards.

From close-cropped, to slightly fuller ones, facial hair is back in style.

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But, is something as innocent as a beard, also a health hazard?

Although beards may be stylish, they could also be kind of gross.

“A beard could become problematic,” Dr. Daniel Yadager said.

Dr. Yadager says beards can provide a ripe environment for bacteria.

“I think things get trapped in there, so bacteria can be trapped in there and can grow as a result,” Dr. Yadager said.

Bacteria in a beard can then get in your mouth and possibly make you – and others who are around you – sick.

“Viruses can be passed from person to person through contact and a beard would be a point of contact for that,” Dr. Yadager said.

Having a beard can also sometimes lead to skin infections.

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“You can end up with painful bumps on your face. Sometimes, they can drain, they can definitely be unsightly, sometimes they can scar,” Dr. Marie Leger said.

It’s called folliculitis – a painful inflammation caused by ingrown beard hairs.

“It was kind of like torture because the right side of my face was hurting for a few days,” Jeff Owens said.

But, experts say there’s no need to ditch the beard altogether.

Men’s Health magazine editor Brian Boye says upkeep is the key to preventing problems.

“Wash it regularly. Keep it conditioned whether with hair conditioner or beard oil, those are the two simplest things you can do,” Boye said.

He said some men think a beard is less work than shaving, but that’s not true.

He said if you’re not up for upkeep, clean-shaven is the way to go.

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David Highfield