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No, You Don't Need To Shave Your Beard Because of Coronavirus

No, You Don't Need To Shave Your Beard Because of Coronavirus

Several weeks ago, just as the coronavirus outbreak first began to make waves in the US, a graphic circulated on social media showing different beard styles alleging that the CDC issued a recommendation that beards should be avoided. This led to considerable confusion and no small amount of panic regarding the potential dangers of facial hair related to this worrying pandemic.

Unfortunately, the story was not true. The CDC issued no such edict.

Facial hairstyles and filtering facepiece respirators
The CDC graphic that scared thousands of beard wearers.

As you know, here at The Beard Club we take beards very seriously. We obviously want to make sure you have the best information on beards and beard care, but in this case, it’s also critically important to set the record straight on an issue that concerns all of our collective health.

So, what’s the real story? First of all, it’s important to note that this graphic is authentic. That is to say, it was issued by the CDC, but not in connection with the coronavirus. In fact, it’s from 2017, a full two years before coronavirus and COVID-19 were introduced to mankind. The image was created for paramedics during No Shave November, providing guidance on the use of airtight respirators. Too much facial hair in the wrong places makes it hard for such respirators to create a functional seal, and beards are therefore not recommended for paramedics, firefighters, and others who may need to rely on such protection in their line of duty.

So clearly, the graphic was intended for members of the emergency services and not the general public. The average man in the street does not need to be too concerned with the professional use of an airtight respirator.

Hands with soap in bathroom sink
Soap and water - still your best defense against the virus.

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that social media can quickly spread misinformation as efficiently as factual information. But we hope you don’t go grabbing a razor on the basis of this erroneous theory. Having a beard will not make you more likely to catch the coronavirus, nor does the CDC say you should shave it off. 

In fact, PolitiFact has declared the rumor “false” and goes on to clarify “the story inaccurately says the CDC is telling people to shave their faces to help ward off the coronavirus and omits that the graphic was made years ago and unrelated to the current outbreak. It also misses health officials’ actual recommendation against using respirators for protection outside of the workplace”.

Meanwhile the fact-checking website Science Alert also says “in no shape or form is the CDC saying that hirsute individuals must part with their 'chin curtains' or 'ducktails' if they're in the path of the novel coronavirus outbreak.”

Cleanliness is next to beardliness.

Having said that, you’re probably well aware that the primary method of coronavirus infection is from hands coming into contact with the virus then being spread to the respiratory system through touching of the face. As beard owners, that chin stroke can happen through habit so just be extra aware and try to avoid that as much as possible. In addition, make sure you’re practicing social distancing and wash your hands often, for 20 seconds with soap and hot water - beard or no beard. 

Be safe.