Face masks have a long history in the medical and general world of medicine. From its origins in ancient Egypt to modern day North America and Europe, face masks have been used to combat a variety of conditions and diseases. Even the face has its own language, with Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Persian, and English all have their own unique forms of the face mask. While many of these masks have been developed to specifically fight a specific ailment or disease, such as the face mask for the Shingles virus, some are developed for general application to protect the skin from the environment and to maintain a healthy look. Here we will look at a few of the different types of face masks and how they work.
o Facial mask. A facial mask is usually a thin piece of fabric, typically a square piece of cloth, designed to be worn around the head and over the eyes. It is designed to prevent irritants or any foreign substance from entering the eyes or the sinuses. Although face masks may work specifically to treat an ailment, most are designed to help maintain a healthy look by reducing puffiness, wrinkles, or skin discoloration caused by the sun. When physically unattractive or impossible to apply, and if not available, cloth face masks may be used as an alternative.
o Surgical mask. An eye mask, or surgical mask, is a specially designed piece of cloth designed to prevent small particles of dust or other irritants from entering the eye or the nose. Although these are often recommended for persons with allergies, people with chronic colds, sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma, or other respiratory problems should also use these when possible. Although surgical masks have come under increased criticism recently because they often cause nausea and a general sense of discomfort, studies have shown that they do reduce the incidence and severity of these conditions.
o Collapsible face mask. In addition to being worn to protect the eyes, a collapsible mask may be worn to help reduce sweating. The material used in these is often similar to that used in body-weight garments so that a person does not have to worry about it slipping away from his or her face.
o Droplets. Droplets are a potential problem for individuals using a standard or reusable surgical mask. Because a disposable face mask cannot be replaced after every use, droplets can accumulate over time and potentially cause discomfort or infection. However, droplets are generally associated with an allergic reaction rather than a physical condition, and individuals who experience a reaction should speak to their doctor immediately. Individuals who suspect they have an allergy to drops should contact their physician or emergency department right away to ensure proper treatment is obtained.
While most individuals will find many advantages to using cloth masks in their everyday lives, there are also potential disadvantages. These potential side effects should be carefully weighed before choosing a face mask. For example, drooping eyelids and a drying, cracking skin across the nose could be a serious side effect that outweighs the benefits of having a comfortable mask to wear. Another potential disadvantage is that drooping eyelids and cracked skin could lead to discomfort, irritation, and even eye damage. While most masks provide adequate coverage, some are lacking, particularly in areas where moisture can become a problem. In these cases, one may opt to purchase a unit that includes extra coverage.