With the cold weather beards are getting bushier as men look to add an extra layer of warmth to their faces this winter.
But as long as mask-wearing is encouraged, men worry about facial hair interfering with the effectiveness of face coverings?
Some experts say men should shave their beards in order to obtain the best mask fit, but others say it depends how long the stubble gets.
The CDC has an infographic on its website, outlining styles that are safe.
Dr. Christopher Labos, a Montreal-based physician, says “If it’s covering your mouth and nose, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do. Whether there’s a gap on the side isn’t really here or there because there’s always a gap.”
Dr. Jane Wang, a clinical instructor at UBC who has studied face masks extensively, disagrees.
Having facial hair jutting out of a mask increases that leakage zone, she said. So the most effective way to ensure a cloth mask fits around the face is to remove the beard.
“Having more leaks decreases the filtration,” Wang said. “So the air we breathe will go through the leak and not the filter of the mask.”
Wang says those keeping their beards should still wear face masks.
“It’ll be less effective, but it’s better than nothing,” she said.l a mask fits, but “not a determiner.”
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