2020 Fashion Accessory of the Year
ifferent colours, different fabrics, different fit. I do like to coordinate with what I’m wearing but more importantly I want to wear a clean mask. That’s why I have one for each day.
The Necessity of Masks
Masks have become increasingly mandatory everywhere. To find out the specific regulations where you are, be sure to check with your local public health authority. In general however, I think we can go by these simple guidelines:
- wear a mask when you are in public and in contact with others,
- wear a mask when you are in shared indoor spaces and with people who are not in your social bubble.
Masks Around the World
Other parts of the world adopted this mask wearing practice before us as they have experienced previous pandemics. Just think of SARS or MERS in China, Hong Kong,Taiwan or Saudi Arabia. In some of these countries, even after the pandemic passed, people continued to wear masks.
Their tendency is to be more utilitarian with masks unlike here in North America where masks soon became a form of self-expression through the use of different colours or patterns in the material used to make masks. Many commercial enterprises also got on the bandwagon by designing masks with logos or slogans imprinted.
The Making of Masks
Check out this story at Refinery29 that talks about how the fashion industry has met this new trend.
The making of masks has become something of a cottage industry. Just check out Etsy and Instagram and you will find plenty. Should you want to make your own, instruction and patterns are readily available.
Material, Design and Fit of Masks
Masks should ideally be made with three layers: two layers of a tightly woven fabric (cotton or linen are ideal) and then one layer that is a filter. The design of it should snuggly fit over the nose, mouth and chin and be easy to breath in. Ties and loops around the ears hold the mask in place on the head.
Keeping Your Mask Clean
Your mask should be cleaned or replaced daily and immediately, if it is damp or soiled. To wash your mask, you can put it in the wash machine in hot water or you can wash by hand using soap and hot water, then allow it to dry thoroughly. If you have a disposable mask, make sure that you dispose of it properly (in a closed trash receptacle and cut the ties to prevent hazards to wildlife that may get into trash) and wash your hands after handling it.
Preventing Problems with Facial Skin
The importance of wearing a clean mask is not limited to minimizing virus transmission but also to prevent dirt and oils of previous wear from coming in contact with your facial skin again. Also, consider not wearing makeup underneath to prevent skin breakouts. I use a good moisturizer and instead of wearing lipstick or lip gloss, I simply use a lip liner rubbed gently into my lips.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, to prevent skin problems:
- clean and moisturize skin before and after wearing your mask,
- protect lips by applying a lip conditioner,
- avoid wearing make up,
- avoid trying new products or skin care routines now as wearing a mask can make your skin more sensitive,
- monitor and possibly minimize the use of retinoids and salicylic acid as these products can cause skin irritation,
- make sure your mask fits well,
- give your face a break every four hours by removing your mask for 15 minutes. Avoid touching your face when you remove the mask and wash your hands before and after you handle the mask.
We are in a very serious time of this pandemic. This virus is everywhere. However, I think it is important to not stigmatize people who are not wearing a mask as perhaps they have a valid reason that is related to a condition or disability they may have that either makes wearing the mask difficult or makes breathing especially difficult.
I encourage you to be vigilant, right now. Wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands and don’t touch your face. Do your part to keep yourself and others safe. 😷🙏
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