A face mask, also called a nasal mask, is a thin skin mask worn over the nose and mouth, often in very cold weather, to reduce congestion. While effective, many face masks are unable to breathe, and when breathing is impossible, cloth face masks may be used instead. Face masks were invented as a tool to prevent colds from entering the lungs and to prevent the spread of influenza. They were used primarily to relieve coughs and to clean out the nasal cavity, but they have since been adapted for every-day use as well.
The three main components of a face mask are the face mask itself, the ear loops, and the tubing. The face mask itself is typically a piece of cloth that is similar in shape and size to a facial washcloth. It can be thick or thin and inexpensive or expensive. Some are meant to be worn as daily facial cleansers, while others are for special purposes such as dry or cracked lips. Face masks come in many different sizes, from small to extra large, which depends on how many facial areas the wearer requires to be covered. Face masks also come in various materials, with some being made from synthetic fibers, while others are made from cotton or other natural fibers.
The ear loops are what bring the mask to the skin surface. There are two types of ear loops: fabric or metal. Fabric ear loops are easy to wash and are less likely to snag, but fabric faces may take a bit longer to dry. Metal ear loops are more durable but can scratch the skin if scratched too much. Both types provide a barrier against trapped wind and cold.
The third component of face masks is the tubing. Tubes are usually made of rubber or flexible tube material. Some are attached to the face with adhesive strips, and some are placed under the chin. All are used to pull the mask to the skin surface, but there are differences in how and where they are used. Some people prefer to wear masks that do not use tubing at all, but most people wear masks that attach to the skin with at least one tube.
To remove a face mask, first remove the mask by pulling it off with one hand, then wash the cloth with hot water. Washing the cloth will help remove any excess glue that might be left behind. Use a scrubbing sponge or soft brush to clean the area with warm water, and rinse with cool water to close the mask. To finish, apply a finishing gloss to the mask, if you wish.
To clean the face mask before wearing it, wash it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If it is a plastic mask, use a mild detergent mixed with one-half cup of bleach to wash it. If it is made from a synthetic material, wash it according to the manufacturer’s directions for the materials that it is made from. To remove all soap residues from it, place it inside a container and add two tablespoons of vinegar to it for at least 20 seconds.