Before choosing a face mask, the next step is to identify the type of surgery. If it’s a more complicated or longer surgery that will take more effort from you, then your masks should be reusable and made from cotton gauze. However, if it’s on the part of the body, such as the arms and legs, and covers fewer areas on your face, then you can use paper surgical masks available in vending machines. They’re also very disposable, so they won’t provide as much comfort for nose breathing as cotton or fabric material would.
If the surgery is more complicated and will put you through more effort, then choosing reusable gauze masks that can be washed and reused often is a better option. They’re also made of thicker material and provide more comfort for people who like to breathe through their noses (or wholly shut). An excellent example of this would be face protection during laser procedures or aesthetic treatments such as microdermabrasion or chemical peels.
On the other hand, if the surgery is less intensive and covers less of your facial features, such as arms and legs, disposable paper surgical masks would be adequate since they’re straightforward to use. To ensure comfort while doing so, choose masks that are made of lightweight materials such as non-woven paper. They’re generally available in most pharmacies and can be purchased alone or in multipacks, so their convenience is unquestionable.
It would be best if you also considered the thickness of your surgical face masks – how thick or thin they are at their material level. Thicker cotton gauze masks provide more comfort since they help reduce irritation on your nose due to their gentle fabric, while cellophane ones would easily irritate you because it doesn’t let air flow through it well, if at all.
However, there is no need for comfort with thinner paper masks since they aren’t supposed to be worn for prolonged periods of time anyway. Instead, aim for strength with this type of material so you can throw them away after using them. To ensure strength, choose paper masks made of creped or embossed non-woven fabrics. They’re not only very strong but also lightweight too, which makes it easy to dispose of them.
To make sure your surgical face mask doesn’t hinder your field of vision during the surgery, it should ideally be form-fitting and flexible depending on the area you’ll be working with. If the area is small, then a rigid mask would work best since it doesn’t limit any movement. In contrast, larger sizes require soft cotton gauze instead because they flexibly mold facial contours without compromising safety standards for patient protection.
It’s also recommended for surgical face masks to have a graduated, one-way flap valve in the center so you can breathe easily without worrying about contaminants entering through it. Usually, this part of a mask is covered by a particle filter, but if the surgery requires additional protection from bacteria and other particles, choose masks with exhalation valves instead.