Face masks have become everyone’s new permanent accessory. While the importance of wearing one can’t be stated enough, they can sometimes take the toll on one’s skin. And with mandatory face masks looking set to stay for a while, taking care of one’s complexion has become more pertinent than ever.
Enter the new Cuions Copper Mask from Dr TWL Biomaterials. Made of a silk-like fabric that’s infused with copper nanoparticles, this reusable mask has been lab-tested to kill bacteria that comes into contact with the mask — especially Staphylococcus Aureus, a common bacteria that causes acne and eczema.
“Having to wear a mask may be a way of life for a long time to come,” says Dr Teo. “And that won’t help those who suffer from acne or other skin conditions.”
Regular face masks can sometimes aggravate skin conditions — giving rise to the term ‘maskne’ — side-effects that Dr Teo Wan Lin says the Cuions Copper Mask was specially designed to treat.
“People prone to greasy skin and acne will find that they get more painful cysts and pustules due to constant contact with regular face masks and the moist and warm environment,” says Dr Teo. “As for those with dry, sensitive skin, they might develop frictional dermatitis on the face.”
Dr Teo also cites several studies that show how copper-impregnated textiles like the Cuions mask have been shown to be effective as antiviral agents against respiratory viruses, though she emphasises that surgical masks remain the ‘gold standard’ for high-risk healthcare settings. The Cuions mask, she elaborates, is suited for everyday use by the general public.
Beyond its anti-bacterial functions, the mask also has a few surprises up its metaphorical sleeve: it also has, we kid you not, anti-ageing properties.
Dr Teo says that this is due to the copper nanoparticles embedded in the mask’s fabric, which she says are clinically proven to stimulate collagen growth when they make contact with skin.
But perhaps its most vital function is sun protection: with a UPF of 50, the mask blocks up to 98 percent of the sun’s rays.
“If you’re thinking of using sunscreen under your face mask, in truth, it’s neither practical nor efficient,” says Dr Teo. “Because when you get sweaty, you’re actually prone to getting irritation from the sunscreen itself.”
Regular masks, she adds, confer “very little UV protection”, due to the low-density of their fibres that render them unable to block out harmful radiation.
The cherry on top? The Cuions mask is designed with a non-stick, skin-friendly coating that minimises makeup transfer.
Still, Dr Teo advises makeup lovers to skip oil-based moisturisers and opt for serums instead. She also recommends a “well-formulated CC cream”, especially those with skin healing, anti-inflammatory ingredients.
As Dr Teo puts it, wearing a face mask (and in doing so, being socially responsible) doesn’t have to be at the cost of your skin’s health.
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