There’s no way around it – facemasks or coverings have become a prerequisite part of travelling. They are mandatory on flights, as well as when using public transport in most countries. Several destinations also require people to wear masks when out and about, inside public places such as shops or even outdoors in busy areas. During high temperatures it can be uncomfortable to wear a mask, so here are our top tips for keeping cool.
Choose a breathable fabric
Think carefully about what kind of mask you wear in hot climates. It’s best to avoid synthetic fabrics and choose light, breathable fabrics such as cotton or bamboo – think about the designs that keep you coolest and also offer the best protection against infection. It’s also advisable to opt for light colours to keep cooler.
Avoid wearing makeup
Your face is unavoidably going to sweat more than usual when wearing a face covering, and when sweat mixes with makeup it can clog pores and make you feel uncomfortable. Wear sun cream on your face as you usually would and a light moisturiser, but avoid heavy makeup to keep your skin feeling fresh. It’s important to remember that UVA and UVB rays can penetrate facemasks, so wear a high SPF to protect your skin.
Carry spare masks
The general advice is to change your facemask every four hours, but when you’re travelling in a hot place you will probably want to change your mask more often. Carry extra masks so you can change them when you start to feel uncomfortable or the mask becomes sweaty or damp. Carry a few different types of mask that fit in different ways to alleviate the pressure on certain parts of your face, such as your ears.
Give yourself regular breaks
Even if you’re visiting a destination where mask wearing is mandatory in all public spaces, make sure that you regularly take a break. Move yourself to a space where it is safe to remove your mask such as your own hotel room, wide-open spaces or a refreshing swim in the sea. Always ensure you are wearing your mask when it is legally required or when it makes you feel safer.
Try and stay out of the sun when wearing your mask
It’s obvious, but try to stay out of harsh sunlight when wearing your mask. Sit in the shade or only go out to crowded public spaces early in the morning or in the evening. You will find your mask more uncomfortable during the heat of the day around noon and early in the afternoon.
Drink plenty of water
Don’t forget to drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated, carrying a bottle with you at all times. If you are removing your mask to take a sip of water, make sure to apply antibacterial hand gel before and after touching your mask. Try to only remove your mask to take a drink when you are in a safe space.
Don’t get the mask wet
It may be tempting to soak your mask in cold water to make it cooler against your skin, but this can compromise the filtration capabilities of the mask. If your mask accidentally gets wet (or becomes damp from wearing it in high temperatures), remove it safely and replace with a clean, dry mask.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.