What is "mask spray"?
Quite simply, mask spray is a combination of liquid carriers and fragrance (essential) oils designed to freshen cotton face masks and make the sometimes annoying experience of wearing face coverings more bearable by adding a fresh scent to inhale.
What are the benefits?
Depending on the ingredients of the spray, there could be a number of benefits. Speaking to our own YB Funky? spray, the combination of essential oils in both our Breathe Happy and Free Mind blends help to support the respiratory system by opening up airways for better breathing. They also combine oils that help to energize and awaken the mind. Inhaling some essential oils, like Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lavender, and citrus oils can help to support healthy immune system function, allowing us to better fight off germs and viruses when they happen. Reducing our oxygen intake while we are wearing masks can bring about fatigue and sluggishness. Breathing in uplifting oils can brighten our senses, making us more alert. When we breathe into our masks they collect the bacteria from our mouths and can transfer them to our skin, causing a whole other level of skin problems (we'll be discussing "mask acne" later in the week!). The anti-bacterial properties in both the essential oils and witch hazel can help to purify the fabric of our mask and protect our skin.
What are the limitations?
I know many of us essential oil lovers want to believe they are the answer to all of our life's problems. The reality is, there is much to still be learned about how essential oils can support us specific to Covid-19. There is no supported scientific research that points to essential oils alone being able to kill or cure coronavirus. Don't rely on your mask spray to "sanitize" your mask, allowing you to wash it less often. In order for a product to be considered a "sanitizer" it would need to contain at least 60% alcohol as a base. Because cotton fibers deteriorate when they dry out, it is not advisable to use alcohol-based sprays on a cotton mask. Deterioration of your fibers will make them less effective when trying to stop the tiny water droplets that contain Covid-19 from getting into and out of your mask, deeming them unable to help protect you and others. The CDC recommends washing your mask after every use with soap and water, and drying them on high heat.
Do I need it?
If you have anxiety, trouble breathing, or fatigue due to wearing a face mask, mask spray could be a real hero for you. If you are wearing a mask for the majority of your day, it could make the experience more bearable and help to protect your skin. If these things are important to you, give it a go!
No matter where you pick up your mask sprays, consider the ingredients. You want natural, non-toxic ingredients that are safe to inhale. Avoid sprays with an alcohol base. If using on kids, consider a professional (vs. DIY) formula that uses a safe surfactant emulsifier to properly dilute the essential oils at a safe ratio (we use coconut-derived polysorbate-20). Using water and essential oils alone only disperses the oils, not dilutes them, as essential oils are not water soluble. Preservation matters. Find a formula that has a safe, broad spectrum preservative, or consider refrigeration to keep water-borne bacteria at bay.