The most conversional discussion of this year has hands-down been the face mask! To wear or not to wear, that is the question. An even better question is what kind of face mask should you wear? Today we wanted to re-explore some options as the winter months quickly approach.
Should you be stocking up on cotton, silk, or disposable?
There are some important aspects to consider:
- Particle Filtering
Thankfully, with winter right around the corner, we can at least stop sweating in the masks. But breathability is still going to be an important factor. Dry cold air can be harmful. Our lungs need to stay moist for us to breathe easily. Not only that, but the moisture trapped in the fabric of your mask could freeze, which makes it not so breathable. The fabric choice is paramount. And we’re not just discussing comfort, but prevention. No one wants to unwittingly spread the virus.
But I Thought Cotton Was The Best Choice?
Generally cotton is the first choice because it keeps a good chunk of virus particles from escaping. The natural fiber is usually tightly woven together and moisture absorptive. But the fiber doesn’t wick the moisture away from your skin and instead retains it. And unless it's a performance cotton, it probably isn't going to dry quickly either. Meaning on those extra cold days there is a chance your mask could get a frosty coating—ultimately making it harder for you to breathe.
Cotton is great at filtering particles, but many people find their cotton masks to be unbreathable. Which is ironic, because it’s touted as a breathable fabric. And cotton is—when it’s not on your face obstructing your airways. Disposals are easier to breathe through, but they fail to be a sustainable for the environment or for your wallet.
So what about a third option, a silk face mask?
Are They Breathable?
Unlike cotton, which swells up with moisture, silk can only hold 30% of its own weight and will remain dry. Silk is a great option for the upcoming winter months. They might even be better than cotton! One study found that they are a great second choice after the N95 and surgical masks.
“Silk face masks are comfortable, breathable and repel moisture, which is a desirable trait in fighting an airborne virus.”-Atlanta News Now.
Is Silk Hypoallergenic?
Yes, silk is great for those who are sensitive to dust and other allergens. It's a great option for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. With pollen, decaying fall leaves, and people cutting grass there's a lot potential irritants. Face masks may seem burdensome but a silk face mask has a ton of benefits. It could be the best type of mask on the market for those with sensitive skin!
“... Silk fibers are spun in a cocoon by the common silkworm. The silk is naturally designed to keep the worm safe from predators, such as the dust mite.” -Asthma & Allergy Care
How much should I spend on a silk face mask?
There are many brands offering cotton masks and the prices are stable, but how much should you pay for a silk mask?
Mulberry silk is the highest quality silk there is. The silk moths are kept on a strict mulberry leaf diet and raised by caretakers. Whereas wild silk is less refined. You can find a mulberry silk mask for as low as perhaps $12 to $48. The difference in price could be explained by the grade of silk. Mulberry silk can be graded as A, B, or C. Grade A will be the best quality and hence, will cost you more.
Overall, silk is a great option for not only filtering out particles but also for your skin. Cotton will absorb the moisture from your skin, but Silk allows your skin to stay more hydrated. Harsh winter winds can really wreck havoc on our skin. Moisturize and then slip on your silk mask to keep your skin glowing this winter.
Silk has a lot of benefits from skincare to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Here are some of our favorites!
Stay healthy this winter.