Useful tips to know about your face mask
When you’re thinking about protecting yourself and others, it’s important to consider the appropriate ways of wearing and washing your face covering. If you tend to touch the front of your mask, leave it lying around or don’t wash/replace it enough then you could potentially increase the risk of infection to yourself and others. If you don’t take care of your mask there’s also a chance that you’ll develop an outbreak of spots. Read on to learn more about keeping your mask clean and avoiding any issues.
Putting the mask on
Before putting your mask on you should always wash or sanitise your hands to ensure you’re not passing any germs onto your mask which will reach your face. If you happen to be out, it’s best to always keep sanitiser with you so that you can safely remove your mask and put it on again if needed. Make sure you use the ear loops when putting on or removing your mask so you avoid touching the front as much as possible.
Ensure a good fit
- Make sure the face mask covers your mouth and nose and fits perfectly without any gaps. A mouldable nose wire or bridge will help keep your mask secure without any gaps.
- The mask should fit from the top of your nose to the underneath of your chin and cover past the edges of your mouth on either side.
- It should fit comfortably but securely when in use and with normal head movements to avoid having to constantly adjust your mask.
- Avoid touching your mask when you’re wearing it but if you need to, make sure you sanitise your hands before and after.
- Do not pull the mask down below your chin and back up while wearing it as this can transfer virus particles to your mouth and nose.
Removing your mask
- As soon as your mask becomes damp, replace it with a new one.
- Remove your mask from behind, and avoid touching the front of your face.
- After you’ve removed your mask, don’t leave it lying around on surfaces or in your bag or pocket where it can pick up germs.
- If your mask has a disposable filter, you should remove this and put it in the bin before washing your mask.
Wearing a face mask and glasses: how to prevent steaming up
If you wear glasses, you might experience issues with them steaming up when you wear a face mask. If this happens:
- Try and adjust the fit so it’s tighter across your nose. If you have a mask with nose wire or a moldable bridge then this will help.
- Raise the height of the mask so the weight of your glasses helps to hold it flush to your face.
- If you dip your glasses in soapy water and let them dry then this can help prevent fog from forming. This won’t work on all glasses as some have a special lens coating and could damage the coating - so make sure you check this first.
- Try folding a tissue and placing it under the nose bridge to help prevent upward airflow, although this may be uncomfortable for some, it may help overcome steamy glasses.
Some people have reported outbreaks of spots or acne caused by the humidity and moisture created on the skin from wearing a mask. There are different methods which can help combat this:
- Cleanse skin properly using a gentle cleanser and moisturiser during the day.
- Use a night cream in the evening to protect the skin, so that any friction caused by the mask is rubbing against a well moisturised and healthy skin barrier and is less likely to cause irritation.
It can be difficult during long journeys, but it’s important to safely remove your mask whenever you can to allow your skin to breathe. If you’re someone who has sensitive skin, you might want to avoid wearing make-up while you’re out as this can contribute to clogged pores and breakouts.
How to wash a face mask
If you have a reusable face covering, you should look at a machine wash on a hot wash (about 60°C), but you can also put it in the washing machine in a normal wash. It’s also important to check if the mask manufacturers have given any instructions regarding any specific requirements when washing your mask. If you've got a mask with a special antimicrobial coating such as silver or copper, you'll probably have to wash this in a different way to avoid damaging the coating. Again, make sure to check the manufacturer's instructions before washing.