CDC graphic shows which beards, mustaches interfere with face masks, respirators

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Thursday, February 27, 2020
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Side whiskers, handlebar and zorro mustaches are ok because the hair can remain under the facemask. But full beards and mutton chops are not recommended, says CDC.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- While N95-masks can help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, those with beards should know: your facial hair may be getting in the way, according to health officials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said facial hair can interfere with face masks and respirators. In relation to the coronavirus outbreak, the CDC advised that face masks should only be used by people with confirmed or suspected cases and others in health care settings.

In 2017, the CDC shared a graphic that showed how different types of beards and mustaches are covered by tight-fitting respirators.

The public health institute said clean-shaven is best, but if you want to sport a beard, you need to make sure the hair can remain under the face mask.

Side whiskers, handlebar, zorro and toothbrush mustaches are OK, but other styles such as mutton chops, full beards, long stubble and extended goatees are not recommended.

"For any style, hair should not cross under the respirator sealing surface," the CDC's blog post read. "If your respirator has an exhalation valve, some of these styles may interfere with the valve working properly if the facial hair comes in contact with it."

The latest guidance from the CDC on Feb. 12 stated N95-masks are in limited supply.

They are not recommended for the general public as a method of prevention. As of Feb. 12. on Amazon, a quick search shows masks can be purchased from $17 to $75.