Whether you are going abroad or staying in the UK this summer, here's everything you need to know to stay cool and safe while wearing a face mask in the heat!
Choosing the right mask:
In summer, we want a mask that is breathable and safe. Seen as the go-to mask at the moment, you may be surprised to know disposable face masks are actually less breathable because of the internal filtration system, and "they are not the best to use for keeping cool" said Dr. Adil Sheraz, London NHS hospital. A washable and reusable mask is a better alternative and can help you stay cooler for longer. It's important to consider the material they are made from.
Here a list of materials to consider:
- Polyester (known to be very breathable and also water-repellent, perfect for the hot sweaty weather!)
- Copper ion fabric (tends to be partnered with polyester, breathable and has antibacterial properties)
- Lightweight Cotton (known to be breathable, however, easily soaks up moisture and can become damp quickly)
- Silk (Breathable but because of its insulating properties can cause some people to sweat, also known to become sticky when it gets wet!)
The colour of your mask will also affect how hot it gets, dark colours absorb more light, converting it into heat. While black masks have been our most popular item, it might be time to try our coloured masks to stay cool this summer. "Consider having a mask that's a lighter colour, rather than a darker one," says Dr. Sheraz.
Changing your mask regularly:
You should change your face mask every 4 hours. Disposable face masks have a life span of 4 hours, however, once the mask becomes damp or wet it should be disposed of straight away. FFP3's and Respirator masks tend to be a more durable option and have a longer wear time. If you are wearing a reusable face mask, it is recommended that you change it every 4 hours or once it becomes damp. If you are going on a long journey or a day trip make sure to pack extra masks with you and a plastic bag to hold the used ones in.
Wash your mask:
Your reusable face mask should be washed after every use to kill harmful bacteria and stop contamination. Most can be cleaned easily by hand or put into your normal laundry load!
In humid and sticky environments, if your mask is not washed after every use it can cause breakouts or rashes around the nose, cheeks, mouth, and chin. Your face mask absorbs any sweat, makeup and dirt from around your face which can cause some less than desirable and uncomfortable side effects when it comes to your skin. To avoid outbreaks or rashes when wearing a mask in the heat, make sure you wash your mask before use and change it once it is dirty or wet.
“Wearing masks can also cause any oil, makeup and bacteria or dirt on your skin to become occluded. In turn that can trigger outbreaks of spots, bumps, blemishes, dermatitis, inflamed hair follicles, irritation, broken blood vessels and redness or rosacea,” says Dr. Ghalaie, medical director at British Aesthetics.
“Reusable masks are particularly bad for the skin if they’re not washed properly as they can collect dust, bacteria and other pollutants which will become trapped between the mask and your skin when it’s next used.”
It's important to stay hydrated, especially when wearing a face mask. Face masks can make you sweat more than normal and increase your body temperature. It's recommended you take a bottle of water and a handheld fan out with you when venturing out. Ideally, you should also take regular breaks away from populated areas to remove your mask and rest.
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