When you picture a man in uniform, most likely, he’s clean-shaven. That’s especially true if you imagined a military uniform since the U.S. Army requires soldiers to shave. However, men with certain skin conditions may be eligible for a military shaving waiver that excuses them from shaving daily. So how do you get a shaving waiver for the National Guard?
Generally, men in the U.S. military treated by a licensed medical professional for shaving-related skin problems may be given a shaving waiver, called a shaving profile. A doctor, dermatologist, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant must certify that the soldier suffers from a medical condition requiring them to grow their facial hair. A neatly trimmed beard shorter than a one-quarter inch may then be allowed.
Wondering if a military shaving waiver is right for you? Read on to find out why soldiers are required to shave and how you can get a profile in the National Guard.
Can You Get a Shaving Profile in the National Guard?
A profile is an injury or condition that prevents soldiers from performing their duty. For instance, a shaving profile means a medical diagnosis means a soldier cannot shave daily. Instead of shaving, men may trim facial hair neatly with scissors or clippers.
A shaving profile is essentially a medical recommendation, though. Commanders have the final say in whether a shaving profile will be honored or not.
The most common reason for shaving waivers is a skin problem called pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB). This condition causes painful bumps to form that can scar a man’s face permanently. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that 83% of African American men suffer from PFB.
What Army Regulation Covers a Shaving Profile?
The National Guard soldiers serve the military by supplementing U.S. Army units. Army regulation 670-1 1-8 2(c) requires men to keep faces “clean shaven while in uniform or civilian clothes on duty.” That means that soldiers have to shave each day, which can worsen skin problems or cause permanent damage for some men.
With a shaving waiver, men can keep facial hair groomed very short, ⅛ to ¼ inches. A shaving profile is not an excuse to grow out a beard. Furthermore, tyling of facial hair is never allowed.
Officers can stop soldiers in uniform and ask to see their profiles. So it is important to keep required paperwork on hand at all times.
What Causes Pseudofolliculitis?
The U.S. Army Medical Services Technical Bulletin 287 tells more about this topic. After shaving, sharp hair tips can curl and grow back into the skin. This trauma to the skin can hurt. It is also itchy. Pockets of pus may also form when bacteria trapped under the skin multiply. Cases of PFB may be mild to severe.
- Mild cases may require minimal treatment, such as shaving every third day and using a medicated aftershave cream.
- Moderate cases may require shaving every two or three days, along with prescription gels or creams.
- Severe cases may require ingrown hair tips to be mechanically dislodged and skin treated with facial washes, steroid creams, or antibiotic treatments.
Soldiers who experience PFB should see a doctor. According to the Army bulletin, “virtually all individuals with PFB will require a profile for the entire face and neck at some point in therapy.”
A military shaving profile may state how often a man is can shave and how long the hair should grow out to avoid skin problems. A profile is re-evaluated at an officer’s request or if the soldier’s condition changes.
Now you know if a shaving profile for the National Guard might be right for you. It is best to consult a licensed physician about any medical condition. If you still have questions, now is the time to talke to a specialist.
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Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The information, graphics, and images on this site are not intended to substitute diagnosis or treatment by a medical professional. Always seek the advice of a licensed physician for any questions you may have regarding a specific condition.