A facial mask is a thin sheet or garment, generally made of a soft cloth material, worn over the entire nose and mouth, to tighten the facial skin and promote breathing. When effective, face masks are impossible to get, and when facial distancing is almost impossible, using a cloth face mask provides an alternative that is much easier on the skin. Read on to find out more about how face masks work, their advantages, their disadvantages, and their best use.
Face masks function mainly by trapping trapped dirt and other particles inside their elasticized tissues, which then fall into crevices and cavities in the mask. These droplets are essential to the proper functioning of facial masks, because they prevent the spread of bacteria and fungi from deeper within the skin. The droplets, however, must be allowed to fall into the crevices and cavities, in order to perform their vital task. If this is not the case, then the mask is said to be “leaky”. For this reason, one must regularly wipe or rinse his or her hands with warm water, in order to prevent the build-up of bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause infections.
A cloth face mask can also be compared to a bandage in terms of its effect. In the former, the skin is protected and not sealed off from external sources, while in the latter the same goal is achieved, but in reverse: the skin is sealed off from external sources and is therefore more susceptible to bacterial and fungal infection. Therefore, before placing a face mask, it is important to first wash and dry the affected area, in order to remove any soap residue or moisture that might otherwise serve as a catalyst for the growth of these organisms.
Face masks come in two types – the permeable fabric varieties, which allow air to pass through, and the occlusal or hard plastic variety, which does not. Some face masks, however, have three layers of fabrics, namely the face cushion/base layer, the occlusal layer and the barrier layer. While the former two help prevent moisture from accumulating between the skin and the foundation, the latter to ensure that air cannot pass through the fabric, thereby ensuring dryness. Face masks generally come in three layers: the base fabric, which is usually made of cotton or wool; the barrier layer, which is made of fibres such as acrylic or polyester powder or even wax; and the cushion layer, which is usually made of soft cotton blends such as linen or jute. The thickness of the three layers usually depends on the purpose of the mask: for instance, the base fabric may be too thick to allow air to pass through it, while the barrier layer may be too thin to prevent dust and moisture from entering.
Nose and mouth guards are also useful in preventing and reducing the occurrence of post-nasal drip. These devices are often used in patients with chronic sinus conditions. Post nasal drip occurs when mucous or other respiratory droplets find their way to the back of the throat or to the nape of the neck. When this happens, a patient may experience difficulty in swallowing due to the lack of saliva, which can lead to serious complications. To prevent this from happening, the nasal and mouth guards are designed to keep the nasal cavity clear of these droplets, which eventually leads to a reduction in the risk of post-nasal drip.
Ear Plugs are very useful in preventing snoring. They fit neatly into ear loops, taking the place of air pockets, thus reducing the chances of snoring by reducing vibrations that lead to snoring sounds. Ear plugs can either be made of cotton or Lycra, depending on the wearer’s preference. Some ear plugs are custom-made, while others come in disposable forms so that users can easily wash them after a while. Ear plugs are one of the cheapest, easiest and most effective methods of combating snoring.