(CNN)Growing a beard may seem as harmless as committing to elastic waistbands, as far as pandemic trends go. But for some, choosing to forego shaving could impact one crucial method for ending the pandemic.
To shave or not to shave? How beards may affect Covid-19 risk
An important part of wearing face masks to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading coronavirus is that the mask fits snugly. Depending on a beard's length and thickness, experts have said it may reduce the effectiveness of mask-wearing by creating more space between your face and the mask.
Any opening "increases the chance that there is a virus that will get to the orifices, which can then obviously give you the disease," said Dr. Mona Gohara, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine.
Mask-wearing doesn't totally prevent infection, but it can help limit the spread of potentially virus-laden respiratory droplets among people. Mask use can reduce the number of new coronavirus infections by nearly 50%, according to a December 2020 study.