Now that we are starting to slowly see the economy re-opening across Canada, it seems timely to really understand how to keep protecting yourself and your family. We don't want to completely let our guards down now and as such we feel it is a perfect time to reiterate how to safely wear a fabric, non-medical mask.
When to Use a Face Mask?
During a pandemic such as COVID-19, you are safest to choose to wear a mask when you must go out in public and know you may be exposed and cannot keep 1 metre (6 feet) away from others, for example when going to the grocery store, other retailers, doctors offices, etc. If you are in your own home and do not believe anyone in your home has been exposed then you may not feel you need to wear it at home. You need to use good judgement though and do what you feel is right. You can always err on the side of caution if you wish. I don't feel there is any such as thing as being "too safe" or cautious.
Here's what the experts have to say: "When we spoke with Tania Elliott MD, an immunologist and national spokesperson for the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, she reiterated the importance of covering your face in public. "Many people can be asymptomatic carriers of the virus, so you may have it and be spreading it without even knowing," she said. "Therefore, wearing a mask protects others in the event that you sneeze or cough while you're talking and respiratory particles are transmitted into the air." Dr. Elliott added, "A mask should be worn whenever you cannot be more than six feet apart from people." (Source: Business Insider June 5, 2020)
Personally, I have been wearing a mask each time I go to the grocery store, when I went for bloodwork and to my doctor's office, and even doing a curbside pick-up. But I haven't been wearing one when out for walks or runs or driving alone in my car. My teenage daughters who work in an essential workplace (food) have been wearing them when working and serving food to customers.
How To Wear a Face Mask Properly?
Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask. Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. (Source: WHO)
How to Choose a Face Mask?
Look for a breathable fabric mask made of cotton ideally. Make sure that it fits snuggly against your face and ideally that it has support in the nose-bridge area to mould over your nose to keep your face covered well. I personally also like adjustable elastic straps to fit securely to your head size and shape.
Some Additional Mask Safety Tips
Identify the exterior and interior sides of the mask. Always be sure to place the interior surface next to your skin. The mask should be worn tightly against the face and cover both your nose and mouth. Try not to touch the mask while you are wearing it.
When it is time to remove the mask, slip the elastic bands from your ears, or untie the strings. Do not grab the front of the mask to remove it from your face. Using the strings or elastic bands, place the mask directly in a paper bag for disposal, or to hold it until you're ready to wash or wear it.
Wash your hands again. (Source: The Business Insider)
How & When to Wash it
In order to keep your mask effectively protecting you, it is important that you keep it clean after each and every use.
- Machine or hand wash it with a heavy duty soap. I prefer washing them in hot water to kill all bacteria.
- If someone in your household is ill or has a compromised immune system, you may want to add an extra disinfectant into the wash cycle.
- Have several masks per person so you can rotate through them. I personally have 4 fabric masks that I am moving between so that I can wash them and always have one or two ready to go. I keep a couple clean ones in my car just in case I need to make a stop while out.
How to Wash Your Face After Wearing a Face Mask
Since I am the Founder of a natural skincare company, of course I always go to skincare advice to keep your face and body looking its best, with clean, glowing, natural skin.
If you are an essential worker who must wear a mask for extended periods of time (i.e. longer than 4 hours) at a time then it is a definite must that you follow great skin hygiene to prevent breakouts, rashes, irritation, dry skin, and other occurrences that may result from wearing a mask all day, every day.
Let me also say that to the Essential Frontline Workers WE THANK YOU for keeping us safe! And to those who have been battling these skin issues from their masks, there is hope for your skin.
Here are my top tips for your skin health:
1. You are already risking your health by being on the frontline and potentially being exposed to COVID-19 or other viruses. Let's not take any more risks by using chemical skincare products that can cause you harm, disrupt your hormones, make your skin drier or more irritated. Therefore, choose natural skincare products that are plant-based, and without the Dirty Dozen ingredients that can bring your body harm.
2. Wash your face immediately after removing your mask, or as soon as you possible can. I suggest using either a pure Castile Soap Face Wash for sensitive or acne prone skin or a Facial Cleansing Oil to help gently cleanse while adding healthy fats and oils back into your skin.
3. While wearing your mask, if you feel yourself sweating you could wipe away the sweat by dabbing with a clean tissue or paper towel, but only with freshly cleaned and sanitized hands. Try not to wear a damp mask as that will encourage bacterial growth on your skin and potentially cause you issues.
4. If you can go without any makeup on underneath your mask. Natural skin is best so that you aren't trapping makeup in your pores underneath your mask.
5. Be sure to follow the previous points made about how to safely put your mask on and off. Also be sure to wash it after every use to help eliminate the bacteria that forms on the inside of the face mask. This will help to keep your skin healthy and free of any reactions.
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT CLEAN KISS?
At Clean Kiss we are passionate about creating natural skincare and body products that you can feel good about using yourself, and for your whole family.
From health-conscious, active mamas, to busy teenagers and dads, our customers love the experience of using our freshly-scented products that not only leave your skin feeling amazing, but ACTUALLY work.
Clean Kiss was founded by Family Natural Health Expert, Jodie Pappas, out of her own personal quest to find natural products for herself and her family that ACTUALLY worked. After first creating her signature natural deodorant, she went on to produce a full line of skincare and body products.
Each product is created in small batches using chemical-free formulations that have been recognized with several awards, has developed a loyal customer base of Clean Kissers, and has gained some international media attention by Business Insider, InStyle Magazine, The Toronto Sun, Breakfast TV Toronto, CHCH Hamilton, Global TV and more!