Future once chanted “Mask Off” as we all bopped our heads in unison. The CDC, however, wants us to keep our masks on, especially when going out in public. Since the mask is here to stay (for now), it is time to get intentional about what is going near our skin.
When looking for the perfect mask, you can use the ‘light test’ to check if the material will provide decent filtration. Hadley King, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City notes that being able to see the light come through the fabric your mask is made of means it is not as safe as a thicker fabric, but warns against going too thick. Even though thicker fabric filters better, King notes, too thick fabric may make it difficult to breathe. King recommends going with cotton as it is a breathable material and relatively less irritating on the skin, protecting you against both germs and from developing maskne. For added protection, “insert a coffee filter between layers of fabric,” she adds.
While none of these cool face masks are substitutes for N95 or procedural masks (we are leaving those for the healthcare workers), they do provide some stylish relief. We recommend washing your mask frequently (get two if you can, so you can alternate), and following CDC guidelines — practicing social distancing, washing your hands, and avoiding touching your face.
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