UV Sun Protection | UPF Fabric Face Masks

Woman wearing a UPF 50+ Sun Protection Fabric Face Mask and UV sun protective arm sleeves holding a clear shopper tote bag.

Way back in Mid-March, I distinctly remember how self conscious I felt wearing a face mask while traveling. I was in the airport and noted there were perhaps just a handful of travelers wearing masks. There were lots of stares and few supportive glances. 

The start of shelter in place feels like a lifetime ago and depending on where you live wearing fabric face masks may be mandatory or simply a recommendation.

Regardless, the reality this accessory stays with us for another year is staring us in the face. 

Currently the best defense from COVID-19 to keep you, your family, and your community safe is to practice these three things:

Wear a face mask
Wash hands frequently

Practice social distancing (6ft or more)

Secondly, note a fabric face mask is not medical grade and is not intended to replace a medical grade mask. Properly worn and with proper care, fabric face masks are an effective safety measure. They're also reusable so wearing one will not only protect others, it will keep disposable masks out of landfill. If you're wearing a HELIADES UPF fabric mask you'll be protecting your skin from sun exposure too!

A reusable fabric face mask is good for your community and the environment.

Our reusable UPF sun protective fabric face mask is good for your community, the environment, and YOU.

Best practices. 

1. Clean your hands before, during, and after.

Your hands should be clean before putting your mask on, after touching or adjusting it, and after removing your face covering. If you can't wash with soap and water for 20 seconds, then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately before touching your mask.

 2. Consider your mask a personal accessory.

Don't share masks unless it's been washed and dried first. You (the wearer) should be the only person handling your face covering! However, if you are adjusting your child's mask, sanitize/clean your hands first before touching your child's.

3. Keep your mask clean.

Generally speaking, each time you use your mask it should be washed before the next use with a mild detergent and dried completely. Store in clean container or clean bag. From a practical standpoint, it makes sense to have more than one mask per person.

4. Best way to remove your mask.

Hadn't thought about it, but suppose your mask does have virus droplets on its outer side. There's a best way to remove your mask so you don't accidentally shake the droplets off your mask and disperse into the air - like while you're sitting in the car after loading all your groceries. Here is UCSF's public service video for how to safely put on and remove your mask here.

A few details and tips.

The HELIADES fabric face mask is an adaptation of the Olson mask style. I used this modified Olson mask pattern (adapted by a technical fashion designer) as a jumping off point, and then made additional pattern modifications to create our version.

Layers and filters. Our sun protective fabric face masks are made of two layers. The second creates a pocket to add a filter should you desire and if you can tolerate the third layer comfortably. The WHO recommends you do not use a mask that is difficult to breathe through.  

Here's an explanation about filters from Loretta Fernandez, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Northeastern:
The idea is to create an efficient series of layers with bends within the fabric that make it harder for the virus to have a straight shot at a person’s nose. Every bend of that path provides more chances for the viral particles to stick to the fibers, instead of a person’s throat.
“By including a filter layer—coffee filters, toilet paper, any sort of thing in there that is safe to breathe—you’re just making the air have to follow a more circuitous route to get to your nose,”

If you wear glasses, my favorite third layer to add is a coffee filter or paper towel which can help absorb moisture and discourage foggy lenses.

Ear loops are the fastest way to put a mask on, and with practice may be accomplished with one hand. If you're wearing your mask for a long time, I suggest you loop string through the ear loops and tie off behind your head or neck to ease tension behind your ears and obtain a better seal.

Bendable metal strips. These strips are washable and removable. They bend to mold the mask around the bridge of your nose to create a better fit and seal to hug your face. A mask that adjusts to facial contours is more effective than masks without moldable strips. Second, if you wear glasses or sunglasses, a good seal makes it difficult for your warm breath to escape up around your nose and helps prevent your lenses from fogging up.

If you still have issues with fogging lenses like I do, try these tips:

Wash your glasses with a gentle liquid soap. Then either air dry or gently dry with a soft cloth. The film left behind is supposed to help anti-fog your lenses.

Adding a folded tissues to the inside top of your face mask can help absorb the warm droplets from your breath, and reduce fogging.

The WHO's Do List:

 

 The WHO's Don't List:

We're dropping our UPF sun protection face masks in limited quantities. Each is hand made in the SF/Bay Area. 

To get on the wait list, sign up here or send us a message.

 

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