A face mask is usually a cloth mask used over either the nose and mouth or even the scalp, designed to cover and protect the skin. Although these masks may be used in other areas of the medical community, they are primarily utilized by plastic surgeons. The purpose of the face mask is to aid in reducing swelling and pain associated with surgery. Face masks can also be used to temporarily disguise scars, and is commonly used during the recovery period following plastic surgery, or sometimes even to improve the appearance of a scar. Face masks also reduce the visibility of lines and creases in the skin, reducing the risk of facial disfigurement after scarring has been incurred.
Although face masks can be made from a wide range of material, typically a thick, plush cloth face mask can be most helpful, since it can provide the maximum amount of coverage. While surgical masks can be made from almost any material, most surgical masks are made from synthetic materials that offer little or no resistance to abrasion resistance. In addition, if cloth face masks are used, they should be washed after each use to avoid a build-up of residue from the soap and or other ingredients used to prepare the surgical mask.
When choosing a face mask for a patient undergoing elective plastic surgery or acne treatment, it is best to consult with one’s surgeon about which type of face mask will offer the most surgical benefit, as well as most comfort to the wearer. For example, the most common face masks used are the soft, breathable soft plastic face masks known as soft vinyl, also sometimes referred to as “huggie” face masks. These types of face masks have a light weight feel and therefore are great for use during cold winter days or in clinical settings where the wearer must remain comfortable. Soft vinyl is also easy to care for, although in some cases it may become necessary to occasionally reapply a layer of skin care film to provide a fresh look for the patient.
Another common type of surgical mask, most often used during nose and throat surgeries, is known as a post operatively used snorkel or nasal polyps mucus membrane. Sometime called a “covid-mask”, this type of surgical mask comes in several different sizes to fit patients of all sizes and shapes. Although this type of surgical mask can be used to prevent post-nasal drip during the night, this filter type face mask should only be used during the daytime hours when breathing through the nose is not likely to cause excessive dryness of the mucus lining of the throat and nasal passages.
A very popular type of face mask, especially for children, is the soft, loose-fitting fit chin strap, often called a chin strap or soft face mask. Chin straps are popular for a number of reasons including ease of application, comfort, portability and protection of the wearer. Chin straps are fitted with elastic pieces that adjust in length and can either be made from Velcro, like an adhesive band, or made with a buckle. Most chin straps do not have any impact on the patient breathe and are perfectly comfortable to wear while feeding children or doing other activities where the wearer’s mouth is free of expression.
The most common of these surgical masks is the nasal insert, or nasal pillow. These devices are designed to keep the nasal passages clear of excess fluid droplets during breathing and prevent them from becoming blocked. The nasal insert is frequently worn underneath the traditional full face mask, or over the nose. A plastic post is inserted into each nostril, and a plastic ring fits over it. A disposable plastic tube is connected to the insert at the top of the nasal pillow, which allows the liquid droplets to drain into a disposable bag.