Face masks have been used for centuries to treat facial problems and prevent infection. The word “face” in face mask derives from a Spanish word, “castell”, which means “mask”. A face mask, in its most common form, is simply a cloth mask worn over either the nose and/or mouth, designed to alleviate breathing difficulties or facilitate easy breathing. Common face masks today are made using a variety of synthetic and organic materials, as well as many traditional materials such as felt, cloth, rubber and synthetic fibers. Face masks can be made to fit any facial style, including round, oval, long, triangular and even puckered.
There are several different types of face masks. One popular design is one or two layers of fabric sewn together, which is then secured with buckles or zippers. Other designs incorporate fabric layers that drape over the entire face and head, providing a dual layer of protection against moisture and dust. Some face masks, such as the famous nose hair remover “Hollywood cleaner”, feature multiple layers of fabric in order to achieve a fuller coverage than traditional masks.
In addition to face masks that provide full-face coverage, there are also those that cover only the nose. Such a mask may be worn to further control breathing problems or to aid in clearing the nasal passage of a person who has a cold or other respiratory ailment. The face mask may be worn on one half of the nose or across both nostrils. A person may also choose to wear a nose hair remover similar to the Hollywood cleaner. Nose hair removers are sometimes worn on the outside of the nose, covering the nostrils completely, while other nose hair removers, often called nose strips, are worn in an under the nose fashion, covering only the tip of the nose.
Like many of the other components of a face mask, the fabrics available also come in a variety of thicknesses. Thickness provides a more pliable surface for the masking materials to adhere to, while stretchy material provides more flexibility in addressing gaps between the layers of fabric. The cost of these different materials will vary according to the specific application needed. Additionally, the higher the degree of flexibility offered by the fabrics, the less likely a plastic piece will rupture.
Plastic face masks that are worn on one or both cheeks are a popular choice for individuals with very thin lips. These masks usually have two layers of fabric stretched tightly over a base of soft foam or synthetic polystyrene beads. The cheeks are shaped in a way that maximizes the amount of air flow through the mask. Typically, these masks are worn on only one side of the face, but some use two masks-one on each cheek. These two-piece masks are worn close together, covering the mouth only, while a plastic piece is placed over the cheeks and over the nose. Some of these two layer masks have a lip piece attached to the edge of the cheeks.
A simple and effective way to enhance breathing through the nose is with removable “R” shaped openings. These pieces of Velcro or “R” hardware are held in the nostrils by elastic bands. The face mask can be fastened around the top of the loop, leaving the top open for easy removal of the nose piece.