“Phone, keys, wallet…face mask?” Such is the mental checklist that we tick off before leaving the house in the time of COVID-19. Adapting to wearing face coverings has introduced an array of new considerations, chief among them: How to clean your face mask? And how often should you be washing them—both to stay safe and keep skin healthy? Here, experts weigh in on the best practices for wearing and maintaining a face mask for optimal hygiene, as well as how to keep your complexion soothed and protected all summer long.
Why wearing a face mask is essential:
“When we sneeze, cough, talk, or even just breathe, we all emit small particles to the air—and those particles can contain the virus that causes COVID-19,” explains Kirsten Koehler, an occupational and public health expert who is an associate professor in environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. “Face masks can reduce the spread of these particles, which is especially important because some people are infected but have no symptoms. It can also reduce the number of the particles t