A face mask is a thin face mask usually made from synthetic textiles, typically polyester or spandex, worn around the nose and mouth. Though face masks have been used for centuries, the concept has only recently come into popular fashion. Though the technique is simple, it is quite effective. When physical distancing isn’t possible, and when more efficient masks aren’t available, a face mask can be a quick solution.
There are two main types of face masks, disposable or permanent. Disposable masks, such as nasal pillows or masks made of absorbent material like nose pillows or nasal splints, can be quickly discarded after use. They are also good for quick fixes. While they can prevent excess moisture and mucus from accumulating in the nose by drawing away the moisture, they take a long time to dry, meaning the effects won’t be felt overnight. For this reason, they are less comfortable than some other options.
Permanently attached face coverings are a different story. Made from the same material as undergarments, they can be quickly and easily discarded when the user no longer needs them. Made from natural materials, such as cashmere, they are often more comfortable, too. They can prevent excess moisture and mucus from collecting in the nose by drawing it away, but they take much longer to dry, meaning the effects can’t be felt overnight. This type of face mask is ideal if the wearer works in an environment where the air can become humid without notice.
How exactly do these masks help prevent the development of cavities? Although smoking does cause discoloration in the skin, wearing a good quality face mask will significantly reduce the amount of pigment that would otherwise be reflected back into the eyes. Smokers who try to quit are advised to stay away from smoking cessation products for a few weeks, as the body continues to manufacture chemicals while stopping the nicotine addiction. However, many dentists recommend wearing a protective mask around the teeth as an additional preventative measure. In the case of smokers who are concerned about developing mouth cancer, this may mean simply avoiding smoking on a regular basis, or it could mean a full evaluation by a dentist.
Are facial masks just for looks, or can they have practical applications? These days, there are a variety of styles available, ranging from ones that cover the nose only, to ones with straps going across the top and bottom of the head and ones which completely cover the nose, but leave the bridge open. Some designs have openings in the bridge, while others have cowl-type openings for nasal ventilation. Some people, especially those who wear glasses, find that the appearance of a mask works well in combination with spectacles, or with other types of corrective lenses.
As with all medical products and devices, there are always risks of allergic reaction, irritation, swelling, redness, itching, blisters, or some other sort of discomfort. When treating a patient with a face mask, it’s important to remember that the manufacturer has designed the product based on a specific skin type. That is, a mask for lips may cause excessive dryness or rashes for some patients. Wearing the wrong type of face mask can also pose risks for those who are wearing certain types of prescription glasses or are wearing contact lenses.