Silk is probably as fancy as one can get with a face mask. A silk face covering is a definite step up from a brittle, boring surgical mask. Seeing as covid-19 may be here to stay, we won’t be rid of face masks for a while – which means considering more stylish alternatives could be a smart move.
A new Pakistani start-up called Plu is now selling all natural silk coverings in bold colours. Plu says its masks are not only super stylish but also possess anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, with the added benefit of being hypoallergenic. But all these perks come with a slightly hefty price tag: Rs. 1000 apiece.
For all the hoopla surrounding high-fashion silk masks, the most important question remains unanswered: are they effective?
A preliminary study carried out by the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory highlights some important – although not entirely conclusive – pointers. For a cloth mask, it does seem as if silk coverings can effectively filter airborne particles. This is because materials such as silk and chiffon contain an electrostatic barrier that can trap the very tiniest of particles. Thus, masks made with a natural silk weave for instance manage to filter out 80-99 percent of particles – depending on size of particles.
However, one of the researchers involved in the study added that for such a mask, a tight fit is a game-changer. Even the slightest gap can hinder the mask’s filtering capability. Plu promises as perfect a fit as possible; but this could be a gamble, considering even a tiny sliver of space can make a huge difference.
People who feel suffocated wearing heavy surgical masks may be the best candidates for Plu’s silk coverings; they are reportedly much more breathable than regular masks. Plus, the material may be conducive to protecting skin from breakouts. Nordstrom, for instance, has recently launched a line of silk face coverings with the claim that they prevent breakouts. Similarly, Plu says its silk coverings are ‘hypoallergenic’ and thus safe for sensitive skin.
DIY cloth coverings have rapidly gained popularity in countries such as the U.S. where surgical equipment has been reserved for healthcare workers and those in high-risk environments. In Pakistan however, where surgical masks are readily available, cloth coverings aren’t being used by many people as of yet.
Disclaimer: This is an unpaid article aimed at promoting a local business. The material and information in the article is for information purposes only. While Team PG has made every effort to ensure the information is accurate, they cannot be held responsible for the nature or quality of the particular business.