Do Fashion Face Masks Actually Protect Against Coronavirus?

The short answer from a hospital medicine specialist
two women shopping wearing outfit coordinated face masks

Q: I see people matching their face mask with their outfit or posting on social media about trendy, designer masks – but should face masks be a fashion statement?

A: The key thing to keep in mind with face masks is that we wear them as a gesture of caring for others. When we all wear face masks, we’re all safer and we help slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

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A face mask needs to have a few features in order to be effective:

  • It should be made with multiple layers of fabric so it’s thick.
  • It rests under your chin and on the bridge of your nose.
  • It needs to be secure around your ears with either straps or ties.
  • You should be able to breathe easily with it on.
  • If it’s made from cloth, you should be able to wash it.

As long as your face mask complies with these recommendations, it’s protecting others around you and doing what it’s supposed to do.

Another thing that’s important to note is that you should treat your face mask like an article of clothing. You should wash it after every time you wear it and it shouldn’t lose shape or become damaged after cleaning it.  

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Your face mask doesn’t necessarily have to look pretty or be a fashion statement, but with that being said, if you want it to match your outfit or wear one with a cool design, then so be it! I see a lot of people wearing masks with their favorite sports team on it and even my kid’s masks have designs that make it a little more fun for them to wear, like a mustache or shark teeth.  

If wearing a fun or fashionable face mask helps you wear it more and it still fits the criteria to be effective – then there’s no harm in it. In the end it’s about protecting other people.

Aaron Hamilton, MD.

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