A face mask, also called a facial mask, is a specialized mask made of absorbent materials, most often cotton, worn around the nose and mouth. It has been used traditionally by the east to prevent sickness and to protect against sun damage and other forms of radiation. While some of these masks may have gained popularity in the west for cosmetic or acne relief, the face mask’s traditional use remains intact. Traditional use has proven the effectiveness of face masks, even in situations where modern technology offers quick and convenient cures. While modern face masks may be more comfortable than their traditional counterparts, they still serve the same purpose – to keep your face clean, moisturized and protected. When physical distancing isn’t possible and when more targeted, natural facemasks are the only way to go.
Traditional face masks are made using two layers: one to breathe, and one to filter. The layer to breathe is typically made of absorbent materials such as cotton that draw moisture away from the skin to prevent it from drying out, while the layer to filter contains oil or antifungal agents to prevent blockages from occurring in the pores. Although many face masks contain more than one of these layers, cotton and breathable fabrics tend to be the most effective. Cotton can absorb a large amount of moisture without drying out. Breathable fabrics will absorb and trap the pollutants that may be airborne without leaving any residue behind.
To prepare a face mask for use, take a small piece of clean fabric or an unused piece of clothing and cut off a length of the same fabric. Use the clean cloth to create a tight seal around your nose and mouth, leaving enough open for airflow but not allowing the material to fall into your eyes or onto your cheeks. Then, take another small piece of clean cloth and cut it the same length. Using this second piece, you can then pull the cloth across your face, starting at the corner and working your way toward the temple.
When choosing face masks that will be suitable for use in a clinical setting, make sure that they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. There are also products on the market today that have been FDA approved, but the manufacturer does not sign the FDA’s approval. These masks, which are often called “self-cleansing” facial masks, are especially good for people with dry or sensitive skin because they remove dirt and makeup residue without scrubbing too hard or using abrasive chemicals. Some self-cleansing masks include an alcohol base or an aloe base; however, it is important to note that alcohol bases leave a greasy residue and can potentially irritate dry, irritated skin.
If possible, choose a face mask that features multiple layers. This allows your to soak the material without having to wear thick cotton. In addition, by allowing air to circulate underneath the fabric, multiple layers provide extra moisturizing. Many masks feature a double layer of fabric for extra absorbency.
Some masks, like those with a double layer of fabric or an alcohol base, can even be worn to bed. For most public places, it is not a good idea to wear these kinds of face masks, as the area will be more prone to contamination when you sleep. However, if you are in a secluded area, like a bathroom, then this option may be useful. Also, make sure that any mask you purchase offers you some sort of replacement warranty or other form of customer service. If you have sensitive skin and are prone to allergies, always test any masks before wearing them. A few drops of water on the back of your hand before you put it on will give you some idea of whether a mask will cause an allergic reaction or not.