So you have a beard, want to grow out a beard or don’t want to give up your beard for the sake of safety? Is it possible to wear a respirator? Do you sacrifice your health for the sake of your beard? This is by far one of our most popular topics from customers when it comes to respiratory protection. With little guidance on the topic and incredibly limited product offerings out there for beards, we thought we should break down why a beard is so difficult with a respirator and how our Powercap Active is the only solution out there.
Why can’t you wear a normal respirator with facial hair or a beard?
- The seal of a respirator is the most important aspect for ensuring proper filtration
- Facial hair that lies along the tight sealing area will interfere with the respirator
- This interference will prevent maximum protection and prevent proper fit testing
Why does it prevent proper fit testing?
- Gases, vapors and particles (like COVID-19) always take the path of least resistance
- By taking this path, these particles will manage to avoid the part of the respirator that keeps these particles out
Why doesn’t facial hair act like a barrier of sorts for particles, gases and vapors?
- Our hair is actually larger than the particle size one would inhale
- Our hair is not dense enough to capture these particles
- Our individual hair follicles are too large to capture particles like a filter does
- Studies show that even a day of stubble can cause 20 to 1000 times more leakage
How can I wear a respirator with a beard and make sure it works?
- Perform a user seal check (check out our user seal check article on how)
- Speak to a respiratory protection program manager about respirator selection options
- A loose fitting respirator aka a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR)
Is there a respirator designed for beards?
- We are happy to announce that there is one respirator on the market to work with beards and its ours!
- The Powercap Active PAPR is designed to filter 99% of particles down to .3 microns without the need for a tight face seal. This allows anyone with any sort of facial hair to continue to work in dangerous environments without putting their health (or their beard) at risk!
Breathe easy and never have to shave again.
Stay safe out there.