How to wear a mask in the heat
Summer is approaching and you may be wondering how you are going to wear a mask as the weather gets warmer.
Which mask is the best? Is there anything you can do to prevent “macne”? How can you keep earrings from getting irritated? How to prevent your sunglasses from fogging up?
Here are some practical tips to keep you comfortable while helping you stay safe.
Read more: Which mask works best? We filmed people coughing and sneezing to find out
Which mask is better in the heat?
Disposable surgical masks are more effective at filtering out viruses than cloth masks, but to remain effective they should only be used once. Sheet masks are not as effective but can be washed and reused.
According to the World Health Organization, fabric masks should have three layers. The inner layer should be soft cotton because it is more comfortable on the face. It is also more absorbent and less irritating than synthetic materials. Cloth masks with synthetic material in the inner layer will also increase sweating, so avoid them.
All masks become less effective when they are wet – because of the humid air you breathe out and your sweat. The best mask to wear in hot weather is the one you’re most likely to wear.
Sweating, wearing masks and macne
Wearing a mask can affect your skin in several ways. It increases skin temperature and sweating, which can make acne or other skin conditions worse. This is where the term “macne” or “mascne” comes from.
Wearing the mask also increases the production of sebum (skin oil), which can clog pores.
Masks can cause friction if they are not properly fitted. They can also cause sensitivity reactions if the innermost layer is synthetic fibers and depending on how you wash them.
While it might sound strange, your skin also gets drier under a mask. This may be because the moisture under the mask disrupts the normal skin barrier.
What to do
If you want to wear a sheet mask, a soft cotton liner is recommended to reduce the risk of skin irritation. Dermatologists also recommend avoiding makeup, such as foundation and face powder, when wearing a mask, to avoid clogging your pores.
Dermatologists also recommend washing your mask regularly, preferably after each use. If you are prone to skin conditions, use laundry detergent for sensitive skin to wash your mask, as normal laundry detergents contain scents and chemicals that can cause skin reactions. Avoid using fabric softeners for the same reason.
Dermatologists also suggest washing your face morning and night with lukewarm water and a mild cleanser and avoiding irritating solutions such as retinoids or aftershave. A moisturizer before and after wearing the mask can help rehydrate the skin; making sure your mask is snug will reduce friction.
Read More: 13 Insider Tips on How to Wear a Mask Without Your Glasses Fogging, Breathing or Sore Your Ears
Avoid sore ears
When wearing a mask for long periods of time, the elastic curls can cause painful pressure on the back of your ears.
To avoid this, use paper clips to join the curls together at the back of your head, relieving your ears.
Another nifty solution is to use a headband with buttons or paper clips attached. You attach the earrings to the buttons / paper clips rather than putting the earrings on your ears.
How do you keep your sunglasses from misting up?
People who wear eyeglasses will be used to avoiding fogging by wearing a mask. The same advice applies to people wearing sunglasses.
Sunglasses fog up when you wear a mask because the hot water vapor in your breath comes out of the top of your mask and condenses on your lenses.
Prevent humid air from reaching your sunglasses by:
resting them on the mask rather than on top of the mask. The pressure of the sunglasses reduces the risk of steam escaping from the top of the mask
pinch the top of the surgical mask to improve the fit around the top of your nose. If you are using a cloth mask, insert a pipe cleaner into the top to shape the mask over the nose
using soft skin-friendly adhesive tape to stick the top of the mask. If you do this, test the duct tape elsewhere on your body first to make sure you don’t have a reaction.
Other anti-fog strategies include:
using anti-fog wipes or lens spray, which you can buy over-the-counter at your local pharmacy or optometrist
create your own anti-fog effect by rubbing a thin layer of liquid soap or shaving cream inside each lens.
Use anti-fog solutions with caution, as some can damage the anti-glare or anti-UV films on the lens. Consult your optometrist if in doubt.
Read more: Can’t get your child to wear a mask? Here are 5 things you can try
In a word
Whether you choose to wear a rag or surgical mask this summer, these simple tips will help you become more comfortable as temperatures rise, you sweat more, and your skin may become more irritated.
But be sure to wear your mask correctly. Wearing it under the nose makes it completely ineffective.
Read more: It’s easy to judge. But some people really can’t wear a mask