Face masks have been used for ages as a way to keep our facial skin healthy and clean. A facial mask is typically a small cloth mask worn over the nose and mouth, designed to remove and/or reduce oil and dirt. Face masks have traditionally been made using natural products, such as lavender, Aloe Vera, beeswax, or vegetable based oils, and plant extracts (such as aloe vera and tea tree oil). Face masks can also be made with synthetic products, but the quality and benefits from these products are usually short term, since they tend to dry out the skin and can cause irritation and redness. Facial masks can also be made using synthetic products, but their use has not been documented as being effective in maintaining skin care.
Face masks can be worn by children and adults alike, without showing symptoms of irritations, infections, allergies or adverse reactions. If face masks were used regularly, however, it could lead to significant health problems, especially if one had a weak immune system, such as HIV/AIDS patients or children living with HIV or AIDS. Regular face mask usage can increase the risk of colds and the flu, since the virus spreads through secretions from the pores. In addition, because virus spreads through secretions from the nose, face masks that block the nose will prevent secretions from coming out and infecting others. Furthermore, people who wear masks regularly may be at higher risk for cold and flu infections, because they are exposed to the virus on a daily basis.
The use of a face mask during an active pandemic has shown to be beneficial in the control of infection. According to a study published in Clinical Infectology, a study of elementary school children in Milwaukee showed that students who wore surgical masks decreased their incidence of colds and nasal tract infections. Surgical masks that contained aluminum chloride were found to be the most effective against circulating strains of influenza A virus. A majority of the participants wearing these masks showed increased resistance to common colds and respiratory tract infection.
Scientists are also investigating the positive effects of wearing a face mask in patients with asthma. They report that after applying a face mask containing zeolite to the patient’s eyes, a significant reduction in asthmatic attacks occurred. Zeolite has been found to be effective in decreasing airway resistance, increasing airway clearance and decreasing wheezing. Zeolite is safe and relatively inexpensive.
There are many situations where a face mask cannot be worn due to the discomfort or inconvenience caused by them. These include but are not limited to, driving or operating heavy machinery, working outside in hot weather, or working in industries with strong chemicals. It is also sometimes difficult or impossible to remove a nose or mouth guard when working in industries where the chemical exposure level is high.
Many individuals who do choose to wear a face mask feel that they contribute to social distancing. Face masks to reduce the perception of facial expressions and body movements, they are often uncomfortable or even hinder one from speaking or breathing. As a result, they are used in situations when it would be inappropriate to speak or move around freely. The impact of these effects on social life has been under examined. The results are mixed and remain a subject of much research.