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Different Types of Face Masks

by | Aug 16, 2022 | blog

Different types of masks offer different levels of protection against the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The World Health Organization and CDC recommends wearing a face mask to control the spread of the coronavirus disease.

There are many different types of face masks available on the market today. Some masks are designed for specific purposes, such as medical procedures or painting. Others are more general-purpose, such as cloth mask or respirators. The level of protection offered by a mask depends on several factors, including the type of mask, the fit of the mask, and how well the mask is maintained. Cloth masks, for example, are not as effective as medical-grade masks, but they offer more protection than no mask at all.

When choosing a face mask, it is important to consider the level of protection you need and the circumstances in which you will be wearing the mask. For example, cloth masks are not recommended for health care providers and workers who are in close contact with patients with COVID-19.

Cloth Mask

The purpose of a cotton mask is to catch respiratory droplets that are emitted during speaking, coughing, or sneezing. Additionally, it serves as a shield, if worn properly to prevent the wearer from breathing in droplets released by other people.

The best cloth masks are constructed from several layers of tightly woven fabric, like cotton. More droplets won’t be able to get through or escape from a mask with layers. Cloth masks are made from a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. They can be bought online or at many retail stores. The best cloth masks are constructed from several layers of tightly woven material, like cotton. More droplets won’t be able to get through or escape from a mask with layers.

Ensure that the multiple layers are present like:

  • A cotton or other absorbent material inner layer
  • A non-woven, non-absorbent intermediate layer made of polypropylene
  • A non-absorbent outer layer made of polyester or a polyester blend

According to research, a two-layer nylon mask with a filter and nose bridge can block an average of 79 % of particles while a three-layer knitted cotton mask can block an average of 26.5 percent of particles. Other kinds of masks fall somewhere in the middle.

Disposable Masks

Medical procedure masks or also called surgical masks, these disposable, loose-fitting masks are also known as surgical masks. They are designed to shield the wearer from germ-containing drips and sprays. When worn, a medical mask filters out big airborne particles as the user inhales.

Knot the ear loops where they connect to the surgical mask to make them more form-fitting. The excess material should then be folded and tucked under the edges. Surgical masks are comprised of a combination of paper and polymers and are disposable.

Procedure masks, when worn correctly, can aid in preventing the spread of germs by obstructing big drops, splashes, and sprays. However, they frequently fail to be as effective at obstructing the airborne particles caused by breathing, talking, coughing, and sneezing.

Barrier Face Coverings


Barrier face coverings are items that are used to cover the nose and mouth, especially in order to provide source control and a limited amount of particle filtration. These masks might lessen the amount of dust you breathe in. Barrier face covers aren’t seen to be a good substitute for N95 respirators or other filtering facepiece respirators. The wearer of the respirators is intended to receive breathing protection from them. Additionally, surgical or procedure masks, which are made to provide both a fluid barrier and protection from particulate debris, cannot be replaced with barrier face coverings.

Various non-flammable materials are frequently used to create barrier face covers. However, in order for something to be classified as a barrier face covering, it must adhere to the ASTM F3502-21 standards for particulate filtration, airflow, resistance, and leakage.


N95, KN95, and other Respirators


The most protective mask is an N95 respirator. Due to its ability to filter out both large and minute particles when the wearer inhales, it provides greater protection than a medical mask. The general public can use non-surgical N95s. Because they remove 95% of airborne particles, they protect the person wearing the mask. The other masks on this list are made to keep your respiratory droplets from irritating those close to you. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), fabric and disposable masks provide varying degrees of protection.

KN95 respirators are produced in accordance with global standards. Additionally, they are rated to filter out 95% of very minute particles. Additionally, they are rated to filter out 95% of very minute particles. Experts advise checking that they adhere to the necessary quality requirements, nevertheless. 60 percent of KN95 respirators used during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 were found to be of low quality.

The most extensively used NIOSH-approved respirators are N95 models. Also generally accessible are KN95 respirators, although you should use these with prudence.

NIOSH has also approved the following respirators:

  • N99
  • N100
  • P95
  • P99
  • P100
  • R95
  • R99
  • R100

These provide equivalent protection to N95 respirators, if not better.

How To Get The Most From Your Mask


By making sure the fabric and medical masks are properly fitted to your face’s contours to avoid air leaking at the edges of the masks, you can increase their efficiency. Masks must fit snugly over the mouth, chin, and nose with no gaps. When you exhale, warm air should be felt entering the mask’s front. There shouldn’t be any air leakage around the mask’s edges.

Pick masks with adjustable nose strips to help keep air from escaping the top of the mask. Multiple-layer masks provide more protection. Under their cotton mask, some individuals prefer to wear medical masks. In that situation, the edges of the medical mask should be pressed against the face by the fabric mask. If adding layers makes it difficult to breathe or obstructs your eyesight, don’t do it. A KN95 or N95 mask should not be used with another mask. Make sure your KN95 or N95 fits your face and covers your nose, mouth, and chin entirely if you wear one.
A child’s mask should be built specifically for youngsters to suit them comfortably. Ensure that it snugly covers the chin, lips, and nose. Masks’ ability to protect you is also influenced by how effectively they are used, stored, and cleaned.

The processes for putting on and taking off your mask are as follows:

  • Before and after putting on your mask, wash or sterilize your hands.
  • Put the mask over your chin, nose, and mouth.
  • You might use ear loops or tie them behind your head.
  • Make sure your face is snugly cradled by it.
  • While wearing your mask, avoid touching it.
  • Immediately wash or sterilize your hands if you unintentionally touch your mask.
  • Without touching the front of the mask or your face, untie it or peel off the ear loops to remove it. The outside corners should be folded in.
  • Washcloth masks frequently, either by hand or in the washing machine. Dry them in the dryer or hang them outside to dry in the sun (they can be cleaned with other clothing).
  • After using a disposable mask once, discard it.

There are many types of face masks available on the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Surgical masks are the most common type of mask, but other options include N95 respirators, KN95 respirators, and fabric masks. Each type of mask has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to choose the right type of mask for your needs. When choosing a face mask, it is important to consider what you will be using it for and to select the right type of mask for your needs.




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