Since ancient times, people have been using face masks to soothe and heal their skin. To this day, the practice continues, despite the fact that no actual scientific proof exists that they actually work.
One of the most famous masks is the “Hu” face mask, which was used by the Chinese emperor. It is said that he dipped a piece of a kind of shell into a vat of honey and then placed his face over it to relieve himself of a great deal of ailments. Of course, many historians believe that the mask was probably not real.
Another common face mask is the “hei manji” or the “eight feet mask”. It is believed that Buddha himself used it, as he walked along with eight pairs of legs carrying a wheelbarrow full of lotus flowers. This kind of mask is now considered a superstition that is still believed in today by some parts of the world.
Masking is also practiced by those who are interested in spiritual healing. For instance, when someone passes away, the surviving family members will ask for the patient’s corpse to be wrapped in a cloth and then covered with an elaborate face mask, often in the shape of the deceased person. The mask will then be buried or cremated along with the body.
In some countries like Italy, where there is a popular belief that one’s skin should look young despite having severe facial scars, the “Chatto” is used. This mask consists of a layer of sandalwood paste and is inserted into the skin. This process is believed to rejuvenate and moisturize the skin.
In the Philippines, a popular belief is that if someone has scars on their face, the face can only get scarier and that in time they will grow back to their original shape. In addition, the scar remains as a reminder of the person’s misfortune. It is also widely known in traditional societies that scars leave ugly marks on the face. This is where the “taung”, a mask made from grass, roots and leaves, comes into play.
Different parts of the face can be covered with different masks depending on the culture. In some cultures, facial marks are considered to be a mark of social inferiority. Face masks are therefore not just symbols of beauty, but are also a part of cultural pride.