Your Face Mask: If you have glasses or a beard, what to do?

The Face Mask and your beardThe advice on wearing masks in public has changed recently, with Victorians, particularly those in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, now being asked to wear masks when they can not maintain social distancing. But for some people, wearing a mask is uncomfortable or impractical. Here are some solutions to overcome that.

How to stop your glasses fogging up when wearing a mask

Glasses fogging up)
Glasses fogging up is a common problem for people wearing face masks.(Supplied)

This is a common complaint, but there are some hacks to get avoid the condensation.

Online forums such as Reddit are full of ideas that range from putting a piece of wire in the mask to bend it tightly over the bridge of your nose, to rubbing shaving foam on the lens and wiping it off with a tissue, not water.

But here’s one of the more authoritative suggestions, which was published in the Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Authors Sheraz Shafi Malik and Shahbaz Shafi Malik noted theatre staff who wore glasses found their lenses would mist up when wearing a face mask.

Not great when you’ve got a scalpel in hand and a patient on the table.

“This effect can be a nuisance and even incapacitate the person,” the authors wrote, before outlining a “simple method to prevent this annoying phenomenon”.

The answer?

“Immediately before wearing a face mask, wash the spectacles with soapy water and shake off the excess,” they wrote.

“Then, let the spectacles air dry or gently dry off the lenses with a soft tissue before putting them back on. Now the spectacle lenses should not mist up when the face mask is worn.”

You’ve got a beard and masks don’t fit well

The Face Mask and your beard

A cartoon showing 36 different facial hairstyles, from the French Fork to the Ducktail, and if they work with respirators.

With Melbourne residents at the centre of the latest please-wear-a-mask-when-you-can’t-social-distance advice, you can bet there’s a significant number of hipsters worried about how their well-groomed facial hair will compete with a face covering.

But it’s not just a fashion faux pas.

Facial hair can impact the effectiveness of tight-fitting respirators, as this brilliantly comprehensive chart from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlights.

The infographic was designed for workers who wear tight-fitting respirators on the job.(Centers For Disease Control And Prevention) While not all facemasks worn in the community need to be as tight-fitting as respirators — which are usually reserved for healthcare settings — beards can still make a face mask less effective.



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