The 1950s saw sailors boasting long, flowing beards as part of an effort to evacuate Vietnamese refugees, but the Navy has banned that kind of facial hair for decades now. Recent online campaigns have pushed for beards to come back, but the Navy shows no signs of relenting on the policy. However, on October 8th a new policy was passed that allows personnel who have a “razor bumps” condition to sign a waiver and grow their hair for up to 60 days. Those with scars or acne that experience pain while shaving are also permitted to a no-shave chit and can grow their facial hair while undergoing treatment. Apparently, the original rules come from a review from the Naval Safety Center that said facial hair could interfere with respiratory protection regulations. While only one incident has occurred in over 26 years, the rule remains in place to ensure safety for all personnel while using respiratory masks.
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