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Face mask feeling uncomfortable? Here's what you can do for ear and head relief
We've got some creative tips to help prevent chafed ears and the best fabric to use to help stay cool.
Katie TeagueWriter II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
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If the face masks you wear when you are out in public or in a store feel tight around the ears, or if the straps chafe your skin, you are not alone. With summer in full force and warmer temperatures around the country, we set out to figure out the best tips to help keep you comfortable while wearing a face mask or face covering.
Thanks to the coronavirus many states now have face mask mandates. Any mask or face covering you buy should be made from a breathable fabric, especially if it has multiple layers. The mask should fit above your nose and below your chin snugly, but not so tightly that it literally digs into your face. It's best practice to wash your hands before putting on a mask and after removing it.
Whether you're wearing a homemade face covering or a premade mask, here's how to keep comfortable while you're out and about.
Prevent your ears from becoming raw
Ear chafing from wearing masks has become a common complaint due to the elastic rubbing behind your ears. Some people have gotten creative and started making headbands with buttons to attach the elastic loops around.
If wearing a headband isn't really your style, you can always try the S-ring hook trick. To attach your face mask, take the loops and place them around each U of the hook. Make sure the S-ring is centered on the back of your head when you're wearing the mask. The hook should help your mask fit better around your face since the loops will be pulled snug.
If you don't have an S-ring hook lying around your house, you can find mask hooks on Etsy in different shapes, sizes and designs. Or place a piece of folded tissue between the strap and your ear for cushioning.
25 face mask styles we love that you can buy or make
Many people buy 100% cotton sheets for a reason: to stay cool. And that rule doesn't just apply to sheets -- you should also be on the lookout for face masks made from cotton, as well. The cotton material is considered to have better ventilation and will trap less of the moisture that builds up from breathing and sweating. And since your face mask may have multiple layers, you'll want a material that doesn't restrict your breathing.
There are also certain materials you'll want to avoid, like polyester, which can trap moisture through its water-resistant properties.
Make it snug, not tight
While you want your mask to fit snugly around your face to help prevent respiratory droplets from escaping or coming in, you don't want it to be so tight that it hurts your face. Also, if it's too tight, that gives you less room to breathe well.
Wear your mask around the house before you leave to make sure you'll be comfortable wearing it for a long period of time, or long enough to go to the grocery store, for example. Adjust as needed while you're at home because the last thing you want to do is take off and readjust your mask while in public.
Change your mask if it feels gross
Now that it's starting to warm up outside, the longevity of your masks throughout the day may be shorter. That's because the mask can cause your face to sweat, creating moisture inside the mask. Once a mask becomes wet, it's no longer useful and should be changed immediately. Therefore, we suggest keeping an extra mask with you when you know you'll be out for a while.
Watch this: What you need to know about cleaning and reusing a virus mask
Be wary of your face products
If you have dry skin, it's best to put on moisturizer before wearing a mask. This can help prevent skin irritation from where the mask rubs your face. If you have oily skin, you may want to avoid wearing a liquid foundation as that can clog your pores and cause your skin to break out. Not to mention, the foundation can also rub off on your mask, leading to decreased air filtration, making it harder to breathe.
If you have sensitive skin, you may want to forgo wearing makeup under your mask altogether and to cleanse your face before and after wearing a mask.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.