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Why masks get hot & tips to help

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

Face masks are an important tool to help reduce the spread and risks of covid 19,

especially the delta variant which is more airborne than surface transmitted.

There are many out there making fashion masks and face coverings,

some are better than nothing but others are pointless, fall off your nose, and have gaps everywhere especially when you talk, laugh or sneeze. Are you buying for fashion or protection?

So why does my mask heat up when wearing it?

There are many answers to this ...

  • When you first put on a mask, for many it can be a natural panic sensation. You may not even realize it. I know it happened to me when I hadn't worn a mask for a while. Your fight or flight mode kicks in, you start to breathe heavier, start to sweat more making it hotter. Some even start hyperventilating. It's like a claustrophobic reaction, a panic feeling of suffocation! It's the same sensation that Knights in armor have when putting their full-faced helmets on for the first time! However, after a few minutes and calming thoughts, or focus on something different, the panic is gone and all is fine. The more you panic, the more you breathe faster, the more you sweat the hotter you become, and a terrible need to get the mask off! The answer to the panic... if you can, practice before you go out, even for just short amounts of time. Use relaxing or breathing techniques, to stop/ reduce the hyperventilating. Don't overthink it! Practice wearing it around home first, and at a cooler time of the day, then later in warmer times when used to it. It eventually becomes unnoticeable. However, don't go out on a really hot day and get overheated. Pick a cooler time, especially in summer, stay hydrated. We have people wearing our masks 8+ hours a day with no problems.

  • Masks trap the heat making you feel warm. It's much nicer wearing a mask in winter than in summer! All masks will be warm if fitted correctly. Your breath is warm, not cold, so this is why it heats up. An ill-fitting mask that has gaps or is very loose, moves around on your face especially when talking or falls off your nose, will not heat up as much, however, it's pointless as the virus can get out or in through the gaps.

  • Medical or single-use masks may not heat up as much as they are made from a lightweight mixture of materials including plastic. To replicate this in a homemade reusable mask, or get as close as possible to protective standards, the WHO recommends 3 layers of cotton and an optional filter. This excess material will cause a little more warmth to stay in.

  • Masks made from incorrect materials will heat up more and be less breathable. Some may not even be protective due to their weave or the number of layers. Do you want a fashion accessory or something protective or both?

3D silicone mask inserts

We have these now in stock, so if you're looking for a bit more space within your mask we have been trialing them. You can check these out, plus the good and not so good points here

Tips for a good mask

  • Masks should be made from a minimum of 3 layers of cotton and an optional filter or two layers of cotton and a filter.

  • They should be non-reversible and should have a plain white or cream layer of cotton on the inside so you can see when soiled or damp and change it. Also, pick a lighter coloured patterned outside as dark colours attract the heat more. (unless you are inside or it's winter)

  • They need enough length from the nose bridge to the chin so there is no slippage or movement when talking, yawning, coughing, or sneezing. Most importantly No Gaps!

  • Nose wire is definitely a must, as it not only helps the mask stay in place on the nose but helps stops your glasses from fogging up. There should be no gaps across the top of your mask especially from the nose to the side across your cheeks and under your eyes.

  • Adjustable ear straps to allow the tightness and comfort of the mask to fit well. Twisting the straps to cross over (in between the mask and ears) only creates a gap in the middle of a single-use mask, unless it's done correctly and sealed at the gap to make a duck mask. Straps that pull on your ears can make your ears painful, especially after wearing them for long periods. (ear savers are good for this Another option is to have longer elastic or tie-backs that go behind your ears.

  • Masks should fit snuggly around your face, under the chin, across the nose area with no holes or gaps. It should sit flat against your skin (no gaps between nose and cheeks either) Just remember nothing in nothing out apart from your breath, which goes through the material not out gaps. If you are wearing a pleated 3 layer mask with a removable filter and you are finding it too much then you can remove the filter and still have 3 layers of protection. Also, no gaps underneath under your chin or on the sides of the mask by your ears either.

  • Masks should not be made from stretchy materials! If you can stretch the material, the holes or weave of the material actually stretches, gets larger, and makes it easier for the virus to get through. The tighter the weave the better. Filters should be made from non-woven or antibacterial materials as the virus can not get through the non-woven as easily.

  • The best universal fitting mask (as all faces are completely different) is the pleated mask,(unless you have a beard, then use a fitted beard mask) as it's adjustable.

  • Beard masks should be fitted and cover all areas of the beard plus if long, the beard should tuck in slightly without too much bending or getting in your mouth or face. Beard shields are just that, they shield your face, they don't stop the virus from getting in or out as there is not a good seal and they have no coverage on the sides or underneath. Our beard masks are made of two layers of cotton with a removable filter pocket. It is comfy and tucks nicely under your chin and has more coverage on the sides so no gaps or beard kinks and bends. We have various, including custom sizes.

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