After a year of masks being normalized, scientists and medical professionals around the country are studying which fabrics are most effective at protecting us against the coronavirus. Notably, researchers are learning about silk. In September 2020, University of Cincinnati researchers showed that, when compared to cotton and polyester, silk was most effective at preventing small aerosol droplets from entering lab masks – consists of respiratory droplets that carry Covid-19 and are released when a person is infected. with viruses that sneeze, cough or talk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this is the main way the coronavirus spreads from person to person.

Patrick A. Guerra, PhD, assistant professor in the University of Cincinnati Department of Biological Sciences, explains that due to its unique hydrophobicity – or ability to repel water – silk successfully helps to block many water droplets. more absorbed into the face shield than other materials. co-author of the study. Additionally, research shows that silk can help preserve personal protective equipment such as N95 respirators when the silk respirator is laminated over a respirator – a form of dual respirator – if multiple rewinding is required. time. But the CDC advises against wearing dual respirators with respirators such as N95 and KN95 respirators, specifically recommending wearing only one KN95 respirator at a time: “You should not use any of the above second respirators. or underneath the KN95 mask.”

“It’s still the wild west when it comes to masking,” says Guerra. “But we’re looking to take the basic science and apply what we know to improve them.”

We spoke with experts on how to shop for silk masks and compiled the best silk masks on the market from brands like Slip, Vince, etc.

The best silk mask

Double-sided silk slide

Slip’s silk face cover features 100% mulberry silk on both sides, as well as a 100% cotton inner lining. The mask features adjustable elastic ear loops, two sets of replaceable silicone buttons, and an adjustable noseband with 10 replacement nose straps. The Slip’s silk side is sold with a carrying bag and covers in 8 different designs from solid colors like Rose Gold and Pink to models like Rose Leopard and Horizon. Slip recommends following pillowcase instructions for cleaning face coverings – hand or machine washable, and Slip recommends air drying the mask. Slip also sells laundry silk to clean its products.

Vince silk mask

Vince’s mask is designed with three layers of fabric: 100% silk outside, polyester interlayer filter, and cotton fabric inside. The mask also comes with a cotton pouch. To wash off the mask, Vince recommends soaking the mask in warm water with a gentle cleanser or soap, and letting it drip dry. For each mask sold, Vince will donate $15 to the American Civil Liberties Union. The mask is available in 5 colors: Pink, Silver Grey, Ivory, Black and Blue.

Blissy pure silk mask

Blissy silk masks are handcrafted and handcrafted from 100% pure mulberry silk. They come in 4 colors: Silver, Pink, Black and Tie-Dye. The mask has adjustable ear loops and is machine washable.

Roseward 100% Mulberry Mask

This silk mask is made from 100% mulberry silk and is constructed with an inner filter pocket and adjustable ear loops. The mask comes in 12 colors, including Blue, Deep Purple, White, Taupe, and Pea Green.

Mulberry mask for women NIGHT

NIGHT’s silk mask is designed with three layers of fabric and has a filter bag. The mask also comes with seven disposable filters. It has an adjustable noseband and adjustable ear loops. The mask is machine washable with cold water on a delicate medium, and it comes in four colors: Blush, Champagne, Emerald, and Gunmetal.

D’aire silk mask

Designed in patterns ranging from Camo to Midnight Stars and solid colors like Red, Black, and Cocoa, the D’aire silk mask features an adjustable nose bridge and adjustable ear loops, as well as filter bags. They are available in three sizes: Small, Medium and Large. The mask can be machine washed with cold water on a delicate medium. D’aire also sells disposable filters that are custom molded to match its silk masks. The filter comes in packs of 10 or 20.

Claire & Clara Washable Silk Mask

Claire & Clara’s silk mask is made of two layers of fabric. They also have adjustable elastic ear loops. The brand produces face milk with and without filter bags. The silk mask comes in five colors: Light Blue, Pink, White, Navy Blue and Purple. Claire & Clara also sells a pack of five disposable filters.

Benefits of silk masks

Guerra’s lab found that “silk face coverings repelled droplets in spray tests as well as disposable surgical masks”. But silk face coverings have another advantage over surgical masks: They can be cleaned and reused. In addition, Guerra said silk has electrostatic properties, meaning it carries a positive charge. When the mask has an outer layer of silk, small particles stick to it, as Guerra notes: a positive charge – and those particles don’t pass through the fabric.

Finally, silk is known to be good for your skin. Michele Farber, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at the Schweiger Dermatology Group, recommends silk pillowcases for acne-prone and sensitive skin, as it doesn’t cause much friction – and therefore irritation – like other fabrics. That guide can now be applied to masks. Farber says silk also doesn’t absorb as much oil and dirt compared to other fabrics, nor does it take away as much moisture from the skin.

How to apply a double mask with a silk mask

Based on her research, Guerra suggested double-masking by applying a silk mask over a disposable mask. Silk masks act as a hydrophobic barrier — because wet masks are less effective, according to the CDC — and this combination provides you with multiple layers of protection.

Farber notes that applying the mask twice doesn’t allow you to get the skin benefits of a silk mask. But she adds that wearing a tight-knit, tight-fitting, filter-woven multi-layer silk mask is an acceptable alternative to double-masking, depending on the situation. As for cleaning your silk mask, Farber and Guerra say you can usually hand wash or machine wash, though that ultimately depends on the brand’s specific instructions.

Why silk?

Guerra became curious about silk as a mask material when his wife, a doctor, had to reuse her N95 mask for several days at the start of the pandemic. His lab, which often studies the cocoon structure of silk moths, set out to study what fabrics would be most effective for front-line workers to wear masks to preserve their respirators, as well as what kind of fabric. How to make effective reusable masks for the public?

During the study, Guerra’s lab tested the hydrophobicity of cotton, polyester and silk fabrics by measuring how well they repelled small aerosol water droplets. The lab also tested the breathability of fabrics and how frequent cleaning affects their ability to maintain their hydrophobicity over time after repeated cleaning. Guerra said his lab decided not to study silk’s filterability – which often happens in similar tests – because many other researchers have studied silk’s filterability.

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