What Makes a Good Face Mask

Good Face MaskFirst of all, it is important to note that there are two different groups of people that require face masks. They are masks for health care workers, and masks for non-health care workers. This article is going to be dealing with the latter. 

There are varying types of face masks including medical masks, cloth masks, cone masks and bandannas. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when selecting the right face mask.

Face Mask Basic Needs

A face mask must follow these basic rules to be effective at protecting you and others.

  • Be at least 2 layers thick
  • Cover your entire nose and mouth with a tight fit
  • Make sure you can breath easily in it
  • Keep your hands off your mask
  • Keep your mask clean
Now, let’s dive into types of masks to review the pros and cons and what to look for.

Medical or Surgical Masks

These are the masks that are often blue with the white borders. They are typically expandable so you can shape it to fit over your nose and mouth. It also often has a nose piece to better shape it to your face and lock it on.

These face masks work well for most, but due to their loose fit don’t always protect well against all germs. 

One pro is that they’re often cheap to buy and disposable.

Cloth Masks

Cloth face masks come in varying shapes, sizes and material. In a study done by healthline, they found that a cloth mask with quilted cotton, with two layers stitched together, worked best at stopping the spread of air born viruses.  Obviously, the better/tighter the fit, the more effective it was as well.

There are many different styles of cloth masks available on the market, so when shopping, be sure to look for one with at least 2 layers, and cotton fabric when possible.

One con of a tight fitting cotton mask is that your face under the mask can become quite hot and sweaty if worn for extended periods of time. 

Some cloth masks also come with a slot for a filter. These add extra protection as these filters can be swapped out for new ones. It is still important to wash these filtered cloth masks with hot water and soap regularly to clean the germs off the outside.

Cone Masks

Cone face masks are similar to medical masks in that they are often disposable and affordable. Although not quite as effective as a double layered cloth mask, cone masks are still significantly better than bandannas or other single layer cloth masks.

Face Masks to Avoid

Many studies have shown that a single layer cloth mask is quite ineffective at preventing the spread of disease. These could include:

  • bandannas or hankerchiefs
  • scarfs
  • balaclavas

As stated in most other articles on the subject, face masks alone will not stop the spread of viruses like COVID-19. Other precautions such as physical distancing and hand washing.

If you’re looking for a good mask, make sure to check out our Top 10 Mask lists here.