The way a man styles his facial hair has more to do with fashion and personality than health. However, according to top health officials in the United States, your facial hair can be better for protecting yourself from coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an infographic which shows how different facial styles can prevent face masks and respirators from sealing against the face thereby putting you at risk of coronavirus.
The chart which was initially released in 2017 resurfaced after a top CDC official warned on Tuesday that it’s no longer ‘a question of if…but when’ the coronavirus will spread in the US.
The infographic lists 36 different facial hairstyles ranging from clean-shaven to a fu manchu moustache that hangs below the chin.
The CDC recommends 12 styles as appropriate for a face mask: clean-shaven, soul patch, side-whiskers, pencil, toothbrush, lampshade, Zorro, Zappa, walrus, painter’s brush, Chevron and handlebar.
Being clean-shaven or having side-whiskers, soul patches and handlebar moustaches will allow the respirator mask to fit properly. The infographic says goatees, horseshoe and villain moustaches can work as long as hair doesn’t cross the mask’s seal.
However, styles such as stubble, a full beard, and mutton chops are not recommended because they would likely interfere with a respirator.
The CDC says facial hair can’t act as a filter because it is not dense enough, meaning individual hairs are too large to capture tiny particles.
In fact, the agency says research has found facial hair under the sealing surface of a mask causes anywhere from 20 to 1000 times more leakage compared to those with clean-shaven faces.
Masks and respirators have been among the most widely used protective equipment to prevent the spread of the virus. But the CDC does not recommend routinely using respirators outside of workplace settings.