A facial mask is a thin membrane, usually of synthetic cloth, worn around the nose and mouth to drain the sweat which may accumulate. Facial masking has multiple benefits in that it provides immediate relief from moisture and heat build-up and it also reduces or eliminates the offensive smell of sweat and the halitosis (chronic bad breath) which result from it. However, these benefits come at a price, with the use of a facial mask often causing irritation to the skin and sometimes even leaving a nasty welt. Most facemasks are fitted using a special nasal separator device, which holds the mask in position to prevent it slipping out of the nostrils, but if this fails the wearer may prefer to use disposable facemasks for everyday use.
Facemasks are used as part of the overall cleaning regimen which includes hand washing and face washing. Facemasks and hand washing are designed to remove bacteria and excess oil from the hands and face. There are two layers to facemasks, a thick outer layer which captures the moisture and pulls it up into the air stream, and a second thinner layer which drain away. The design of the face mask prevents it from slipping out of the nostril while allowing air to pass through, so that the user must breathe through one layer, thus increasing the amount of time spent breathing. Some masks have two layers, with one slightly thinner than the other. These types are recommended for people with sensitive skin, or for people who smoke or have dry, brittle hair, and they may cause irritation or discomfort when worn.
Many people use a face mask to reduce the amount of dirt and other irritants they breathe, but some people also choose to use them as part of a beauty regime, in which case they are often called a surgical mask. A surgical mask is generally designed to be worn while under surgical procedure, but they can also be used to cleanse the skin of large amounts of dust, debris or infection. Surgical masks are generally made from silicone gel and have small holes in their top design. These holes are small enough to allow air to pass through, but large enough not to allow large droplets of anything to accumulate.
One of the reasons why people choose to wear a face mask while performing certain tasks, such as driving, or working in an industry where particles or chemicals could cause serious damage to their health, is because it can help improve the condition of their breathing by drawing in more air through the nose and mouth. Many industrial accidents result from the release of large amounts of airborne contaminants, such as pollen, car exhaust, dust and other allergens. By wearing a face mask while performing these tasks, it can help reduce the amount of airborne pollutants in the air, which could potentially increase the risk of someone developing allergies and illness. Similarly, by wearing a nose protector when driving, it can help reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill from exposure to chemicals found in auto fluids, fuel and other emissions from automobiles.
The use of a face mask while participating in sports can also be beneficial, especially if the wearer is playing a contact sport where head injury is possible. These types of sports include tennis, football, rugby, hockey and lacrosse. Wearing protective gear can help prevent serious injuries from occurring and can help prevent them from spreading quickly. These protective garments also help reduce the impact that a hit from another player has on the players themselves, since most sports equipment today includes some type of padding.
There are many other medical benefits to wearing a face mask during different activities. Some studies have shown that the reduction of fluid consumption helps to reduce the risk of dehydration, which is critical in treating some surgical conditions, such as liposuction. Another benefit is that it can help to prevent the transmission of contagious diseases. Studies have shown that men who regularly wear them when they engage in sweat-providing sports experience less transfer of the virus to their partners. They also reduce the amount of dust and dirt that is inhaled, which can be a health concern when performing strenuous physical activity. Many people also wear these devices during recreational activities, such as baseball and football, which require them to wear a full face protective gear.