Should You Double-Mask?

In the fight against the highly transmissible omicron variant, wearing two masks, according to health experts, seems to provide better protection than one. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, universal masking remains one of the effective prevention strategies recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to decelerate the spread of the virus. 

While there are a variety of masks to choose from, health officials have already warned the public of the need to upgrade their masks against the highly infectious Omicron variant. 

According to a report from Forbes, wearing a single reusable cloth mask may not offer the best protection against Omicron as tiny virus-carrying droplets "can still make it through large pores of the fabric." So how could we make masks more effective?

In order to make masks more effective, the CDC conducted experiments with dummies to test mask performance from doing various methods, finding that double-masking can "reduce COVID-19 exposure by 96.4 percent" for both the source and recipient. 

WHAT IS DOUBLE-MASKING?

As per the CDC, double-masking is the act of combining the snug fit of a cloth mask with the filtering capability of a surgical mask underneath it. The idea is to put the most protective mask, particularly a surgical mask, under the less protective one, a fabric mask.

The CDC reported that double-masking is "effective at preventing exposure to aerosols made by coughing and breathing." Furthermore, double-masking provides two advantages to the wearers: better fit and increased filtration.

Health experts from the CDC always recommend the use of tight-fitting masks with efficient filtration like N95, KN95, or K94 masks. However, they can be difficult to find since most health facilities require the use of medical-grade masks. 

If you're wearing surgical masks, there's a simple way to make your disposable masks fit better by trying the knot and tuck method. Do this by knotting the ear loops where they join the edge of the mask and carefully fold and tuck away any extra material under the edges. Watch the tutorial video from the CDC here. 

SHOULD I START DOUBLE-MASKING?

The CDC introduced the idea of double-masking to help the public realize that many types of masks lack enough fit and fall short on filtration capabilities. Putting them on could only put wearers' at risk, so there's a need to regularly examine the masks you have. 

However, according to the Cleveland Clinic, if the mask you're wearing has multiple layers and fits tightly without letting the air escape through the sides, then "it's not necessary to double mask." Aside from that, double-masking may feel uncomfortable to some people, particularly to people with skin sensitivities. 

Since you'll be putting a surgical mask underneath a cloth one, the synthetic materials in the surgical mask may cause your face to flare-up and trigger some allergies. For people with skin allergies and sensitive skin, you may stick with your cloth masks provided that they are tight-fitting and made from materials that can filter out small particles.

As reported by LA Times, the California Department of Public Health Code has recommended the use of cloth masks as long as they have the following: 

  • Two layers of tightly woven cotton with the third layer of non-woven fabric. The third layer could be a mask filter insert or a synthetic fabric such as polypropylene.
  • Nose wires to reduce gaps from the nose.
  • Adjustable ear loops or straps that go around the head to reduce gaps from the face.

“Face coverings without these properties should not be used in higher-risk situations if other options are available,” the said report read. Luckily, our organic cotton masks collection has all the necessary qualities you need—functional fit, dependable filtration, and allergy-free comfort. 

As we have previously reiterated before, if you’re thinking of easing further skin-related woes amid the pandemic: Finding the right and functional masks matters. To make your daily activities safe from allergens and virus-carrying droplets, here are our allergy-free organic cotton masks that you can depend on, equipped with an integrated pocket for filter inserts.

1. Hypoallergenic Contoured Face Mask with Adjustable Earloops

Wearing the wrong mask can give people with sensitive skin red, sore rashes, and frictional acne from contact with excessively tight masks made from rough, irritating synthetic materials. But you can avoid irritation and flare-ups using our hypoallergenic Contoured Face Mask with Adjustable Earloops.

2. Elite Hypoallergenic Face Mask with Adjustable Earloops and Nose Bridge 

Aside from experiencing allergic reactions, people also deal with fogged-up glasses every time they wear face masks. We know how frustrating these problems can be, so we have equipped our all-cotton masks with adjustable nickel-free nose bridge clips for a proper contoured fit and comfort. 

3. Elite Plus Hypoallergenic Face Masks with Accessories

Made with 100% chemical-free, GOTS-certified organic cotton fabric, this mask is safe for people with sensitive skin to wear all day without triggering allergies. We’ve also added valuable features to prevent discomfort and irritation caused by chafing and compression on the skin.

TAKEAWAY: While health experts vouch for the effectiveness of wearing two masks, double-masking isn't just for everyone. For people with skin allergies and sensitivities on the face, wearing synthetic-made surgical masks may cause problems that range from acne and peeling skin to rashes and itchiness. 

As the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) has stressed, people with sensitive skin should avoid wearing masks made with synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, polyester, and rayon since they are "more likely to irritate your skin and cause breakouts."

When it comes to minimizing the spread of COVID-19, highly-efficient face masks remain our first line of defense. If you want to know the pros and cons of both medical-grade masks and cloth masks, you may also read our previous blog: Surgical Vs Cloth Masks: Why We Think You Should Switch To Cloth Masks

Also, it's important to note that several factors can affect the efficiency of your mask. To know the common mistakes that people make when wearing masks and learn how to avoid them, read: 5 Common Mistakes People Make When Wearing Masks

DISCLAIMER: The information presented on Cottonique is not, and will never be, intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content materials found on this site, from text, treatments, outcomes, charts, graphics, photographs, and study findings, are created and published for general informational purposes only. It should not, in any way, be construed as a standard of care to be followed by a user of the website. 

Thus, readers are encouraged to verify any information obtained from this website with other accurate references and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with their physician. As Cottonique strives to help those with allergies live with better days, the hypoallergenic apparel brand encourages everyone to always seek the advice of their physician or other qualified health providers with any questions they may have regarding a medical condition.

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