July 1, 2020

POREX’s Foam Seals Help Prevent Skin Damage from Face Masks

By Peter Daniel, Strategic Marketing Manager – Healthcare

As the world fights to flatten the COVID-19 curve, global healthcare workers on the front lines rely on N95 face masks that prevent 95% of particles to enter our nose and mouth. As many of these front-line workers wear masks for much of the day, some have experienced discomfort through skin damage. While personal protective equipment is designed to protect the individual from harmful bacteria and viruses, many forms of PPE can damage the skin after prolonged usage. A recent article published in Medical News Today explains that the reasons for increased risk of skin damage is that face masks must fit quite tightly to the wearer’s face and around the nose in order to provide the maximum amount of protection. Unfortunately, in a stressful and potentially hot environment, this can lead to discomfort and skin damage.

The article cites a recent study from the University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom that investigated this type of skin damage in greater depth. The author of the study – Professor Karen Ousey – explains why this type of situation is a perfect recipe for skin damage:

“The wearers are sweating underneath the masks, and this causes friction, leading to pressure damage on the nose and cheeks. There can be tears to the skin as a result, and these can lead to potential infection.” (Prof. Karen Ousey)

How can mask manufacturers prevent skin damage?

In order to prevent this type of skin damage, POREX foam seal strips for N95 masks and other types of PPE can be placed around the inside outer edge of the mask. This provides multiple benefits in helping prevent skin damage and discomfort including:

  • Absorption of moisture to reduce heat build-up
  • Smooth texture for longer wear and reduced facial markings
  • Hypoallergenic (latex-free) to eliminate chaffing and rash
  • Permeability that creates a breathable seal and helps to dissipate heat
  • High level of conformability for a more comfortable fit and more secure seal to keep the PPE in place

Porex has over 24 years of manufacturing expertise making hypoallergenic, 100% latex-free medical-grade foams for seal strips, nose foam, barrier bands and protection gaskets. Our facilities are ISO 10993 and ISO 13485 compliant and ready to produce and ship product customized to your production specifications. I’m proud that Porex works closely with mask manufacturers to provide a better experience for healthcare workers on the front line of the COVID-19 fight – and make the world safer, healthier, and more productive.

If you’re interested in understanding more about our foam seal solutions to make your products more comfortable and safer, talk with a material science engineer or to request foam seal samples for your PPE products.