Are Face Masks Making a Comeback?

Written by: U-Mask Team



Time to read 3 min

The arrival of facemasks into our lives has been disruptive and unexpected. Raise your hand if, before 2020, you would have ever thought of wearing one, beyond specific situations.

Soon after, we all learned to live with them, rather reluctantly, to stay safe. Now that the arrival of the Gryphon variant is raising further alarms, the act of choosing the right face mask comes knocking once again.

This time, with an extended set of requirements: we want to be protected, without having a displeasing aesthetic, and reduce our contribution to ocean pollution (often caused by disposable face masks).

Face masks: opposing emotions.

For some, face masks remain a recent memory of the inconveniences of the lockdown period. Their association is simple: if face masks and COVID ‘arrived’ together, they will likely also ‘leave’ together. If face masks were to be removed, the COVID nightmare would also likely be over.

For others, face masks are synonymous with a level of protection that they can no longer go without, when ‘on the go’. On public transport, in the supermarket, in the office, (the most daring even in the middle of a remote forest), after the huge scare of the pandemic, they have started to take more care of the quality of what they breathe, aware that the air is a vehicle for viruses and bacteria.

Some have then started to embrace face masks as a common accessory, like a purse, to be worn in multiple colours and designs, to complete one's outfit or to copy those of their favourite celebrities; some have even used it for artistic installations!

Face masks today - are they still needed?

The great debate, as is often the case, sees two diametrically opposed sides, hardly willing to engage in dialogue. Let us, therefore, attempt to shed some light, starting with the current scenario.

The Gryphon variant

How have we reached this point? We do not yet know the actual extent of the Gryphon variant, nor have we been able to estimate how soon it will spread into our country in a consistent and alarming manner. Studies are rushing to understand its actual virality and severity, as well as its resistance to vaccines and antibiotics.

Face masks do not solely protect against COVID

While we have only started using them every day in 2020, in professional contexts such as factories, hospitals and chemical companies, face masks were already widely used as a protective device against viruses, bacteria, pathogens and occupational pollutants.

Air quality levels do not meet World Health Organisation standards

Unless you are part of the lucky 1% of the population, there is a very strong possibility that the air you breathe every day is harmful to your health. Numerous studies, in fact, see a very strong correlation between several health issues and exposure to unclean air.

Moving towards a more conscious use of face masks

As is often the case, ‘reason’ must guide our actions more than impositions or blind trust, which risks touching on mysticism. If we are taking a walk in the high mountains, or paddling a canoe in the middle of the sea, it is clear how the mask can be more of an impediment than an effective protection. In these two cases, as in a thousand others.

Summing up, face masks are useful to defend ourselves against a number of threats, not only related to COVID, and are also an intelligent precaution against the new Gryphon variant, at least until further studies better analyze its scope.

Which face mask to choose in 2023?

As we now know well, not all face masks are the same. Between certifications, 'classy medical devices' and patents, it can become complex to work out which model is the most effective in protecting us and those around us.

We also know that FFP2-certified masks offer a higher level of industrial protection than standard 'surgical' masks, but even within the same class there are numerous differences. So what features should you look for to get your bearings?

  • Reusable and washable:

A little-known side effect of the pandemic has been a real catastrophe caused by the billions of face masks used and promptly thrown away. In 2020 alone, some 1.6 billion of these ended up in the ocean, causing an ecological disaster. Since we should avoid contributing towards this, looking for reusable and washable face masks can be a good starting point.

  • Protected yes, but with style:

Would you ever go out in a pair of shoes you can't look at? In a scenario of increasingly peaceful coexistence with masks in everyday life, why not look for masks that match our style, personality and favourite outfits, with an attractive design and that also makes us feel aesthetically comfortable?

What about U-Mask Model 3?

Model 3 is a face mask line, FFP2 certified, reusable and washable but above all available in several colours and patterns, perfect to combine with every outfit. If after this article you felt like staying a little more protected, ending the year with a bang by showing off your style during celebrations or starting next year safer and more beautiful, you can explore further.