Nose Hair: It Might Not be the Best Look, But You Need It

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If there’s one thing the human race can agree upon, it’s that you should trim that thick strand of hair hanging from your left nostril. In fact, people have such strong opinions against nose hair that someone even created a service made specifically for sending anonymous emails to point out offending cave-dwellers. It’s a shame that nose hair has such a bad rep, though, because it actually makes breathing a whole lot healthier:

Why it’s there. Nose hair is like an air filter for your lungs: It lets fresh oxygen in while keeping dirt, bacteria and toxins out. And its benefits don’t stop there: The hairy strands that line our nostrils also help to humidify the air we breath in, which keeps the entire respiratory system from drying out and causing irritation.

What science says. Bushier is better. According to a study done by researchers at the Hacettepe University School of Medicine, people with sparse nose hair are nearly three times more likely to suffer from asthma than those with shaggy nostrils. Don’t toss out the clippers just yet, though. As long as the hairs are still coating the inside of your nose, there’s no added benefit to letting them hang down to your lip.

What guys make of it. “Whenever I smile, my nose hairs kind of smile with me. It’s gross,” says 26-year-old Gary. “But when I go to trim the hair, I start sneezing uncontrollably. I really wish my nose hairs weren’t directly linked to my sneeze reflex.”

What she makes of it. “I feel like nose hair is the male equivalent of a lady having nip hair,” says 31-year-old Abby. “It’s common but everyone acts like it’s this foul, rare thing from the depths of hell. I feel for you, nose hair guys.”

How to tame it. First things first: Do not pluck your nose hair. Because of all that dirt and grime that gets trapped in the inner nose, New York Sinus Center otolaryngologist Robert Pincus warns that pulling at those hair follicles can lead to a terrible infection—not to mention it’s extremely painful.

The best way to keep nose hair at bay is to pull together some change and buy a trimmer—they’re specifically designed for preventing the hair from poking out of your nostrils, while leaving just enough hair to keep your lungs healthy. Look good, feel good.