During the pandemic, we’ve all made many important lifestyle changes, such as avoiding eating in public places, keeping our distance from others as we shop, and washing our hands frequently, while donning a mask outdoors. If you have a beard and you want to stay safe, then you need to learn how to take care of your beard during the pandemic and what risks you’re exposing yourself to you by continuing to keep one.
Bacteria and Your Beard
Recent Studies have shown that beards can carry more bacteria and germs compared to clean shaven skin. However, the opposite can also be true. In the past, beards have been considered a controversial style choice, but with the threat of the pandemic, hygiene habits are now more important than ever before.
All across the globe, populations have gone into lockdown in order to prevent the spread of the virus. Using the best razor for men can provide a cleanly shaven face in the hope that it will decrease the chances of contracting the virus.
Are Beards Unhygienic?
Over the years there has been plenty of debate involving the hygienic properties of wearing a beard. However, there are arguments on both sides. So, which is safer clean-shaven skin or a beard?
When a person grows a beard, they’re introducing microorganisms to the skin and hair follicles. This means that just touching an infected surface and then touching your beard can introduce bacteria or germs. However, the same can occur with a clean-shaven face, especially if you don’t know how to prepare your skin for shaving and you often get cuts or nicks.
Because of this, many experts recommend that people avoid touching their faces and wash their hands more often than usual.
As the coronavirus began to spread, beards became under closer scrutiny. Initially many people believed that it was much safer to go with a clean-shaven look, using it as an extra precaution against contracting the virus.
Are You at Risk?
So, what risks come with having a beard during the virus? As the skin sheds skin cells, so does the bacteria on a person’s face. This means that if a person is working in the healthcare field and they have a beard that’s short and stubbly then there could be a higher level of bacteria in skin cells shedding if a person’s beard rubs against their mask.
Many Healthcare professionals claim that the only reason a person should shave off their beard right now, is if they’re working in the healthcare field and they need to wear a protective mask all throughout the day.
This is because the number of bacteria or microbes found in facial hair is comparable to what’s found elsewhere on the skin. The skin, including the face, always has bacteria on it, regardless of whether or not the person has facial hair. Many experts can agree that facial hair can increase the likelihood of spreading or contracting the virus in certain situations. But should all beards be shaved off?
Proper Beard Hygiene
Regardless of whether a person is clean-shaven, or they have a beard, it’s always good to practice proper hygiene, especially when it comes to keeping the hands clean. Just like people are taking extra precautions to wash their hands more often, people should also be mindful of their facial hair and wash their beards daily. Using a good beard moisturizer and shampoo often can keep the beard clean and free from germs and bacteria.
It’s also very important to use a regular moisturizer often to keep the skin hydrated since a beard that is irritated and dry can be flaky. Unfortunately, the increase in facial skin cell shedding can pose a health concern if the person has come into contact with the virus.
In the Healthcare Field
Because a mask can cause the beard to rub up against it and shed an increased amount of dead skin cells, those who work in the healthcare field are all shaving. In the healthcare field, the n95 mask is the standard one used. These are well-fitting masks that are worn closely up against the face. Those who wear these masks to protect themselves from being infected will find it uncomfortable to wear since the masks prevents the proper fit. The thicker or longer a beard is, the more uncomfortable the fit is, but the biggest problem doesn’t lie with how comfortable it is to wear a mask with a beard, the issue is that a mask cannot achieve a seal. This allows dead skin calls to flake off as the mask rubs against the beard. Because of this, all healthcare workers are now required to shave their facial hair during this time.
Does Your Beard Put You at Risk During the Pandemic?
If you decide that you’re not going to shave your face, and instead, you want to keep your beard during this time, it doesn’t pose a huge risk, just as long as you’re not spending a lot of time in the public other than going out to grab the essentials. However, everyone should avoid touching their face at all times, even if it’s just to adjust their mask. Once the beard wearer gets home, they should wash their facial hair and hands using soap and water.
Wearing a Mask with a Beard
As I briefly touched on earlier, there will be certain styles of masks that you will not be able to wear if you have a beard. The goal is to achieve a perfect fit against your face and the mask. Wearing a mask and having a thick full beard can be challenging and makes it difficult to achieve the proper seal. There’ll be more issues for larger beards and shorter beards that are tapered and trimmed. For men who are still planning on growing out their beard during this time, they will have a harder time finding an extra-large sized mask that can accommodate the growth.
Ideally, a mask should be large enough that it will fit around the jaw and cheekbone structure and should provide enough fabric on the sides in order to prevent air from escaping.
The main issue with having a beard and using a mask is that the mask should be able to filter air and allow the wearer to breathe through the covering. It should also be big enough so that the wearer is not able to breathe through any gaps on the side. Men with facial hair will benefit from using a mask that’s extra wide. This will make it much more difficult for the air to escape around the edges. The beard wearer should be fine if the face shield is large enough to provide a fit that’s reasonably snug around the different areas of the mask and it doesn’t have any gaps where things can easily transfer through the edges.
In terms of keeping a mask clean, all the user will need to do is wash it out with soap and water. A basic laundry detergent will break down the outer cell layers of the virus, disabling it instantly. Washing a mask and allowing it to dry for a period of 12 hours will provide a safe and clean mask that can be used again. However, if the mask wearer goes out a lot and isn’t able to thoroughly wash their mask after each time they wear it, then they should purchase at least four masks so that they will always have one that’s clean and one that’s in the drying phase.
Learning how to take care of your beard during the pandemic does not mean you will not contract the virus at some point, but following proper hygiene protocols can significantly reduce your chances of becoming infected, while also minimizing the risk of spreading it to others. If you want to continue to keep your beard during this time, then it’s important to wash your beard at the end of the work day, or anytime you come home after being in a public area where you came into contact with other people or may have possibly touched an infected surface. Use the proper mask and ensure it covers your beard and face properly. Have extra masks on hand and wash them regularly. By following these steps, you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe, while doing your part to prevent the spread of the virus.