A 32C heatwave is hitting the UK – but with coronavirus restrictions still in place Brits will have to wear face masks in restaurants, pubs, shops and public transport.
The good news is, it’s definitely possible to keep cool while wearing a mask.
Wearing a mask where it’s required is essential – even in the heatCredit: AP:Associated Press
Pick a light colour
Dark colours absorb the sun’s heat better – that’s why brunette hair tends to feel hotter to the touch over blonde hair when you’ve sat out in the sun.
Wearing a white or pale coloured mask instead will feel less hot on your face as these colours are better at reflecting heat.
If you only have black masks, it’s a good idea to invest in lighter ones for July and August.
Get the material right
With the abundance of mask options on the market right now, it can be hard to know what you’re ordering online and how it’s going to feel.
While those blue medical grade masks offer the most protection, they aren’t the most cool on the skin and aren’t necessary if you’re not working on the front line.
A more comfortable option would be a cotton or bamboo mask.
Cotton is often recommended by experts as a good clothing material in the heat because it’s breathable – so apply the same theory to your mask.
Opt for a light coloured mask to help combat heatCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Carry a back-up
In the heat you’re more likely to sweat, so putting on a sweaty mask for your train ride home from the beach won’t be appealing.
Bring a spare with you, especially if you opt for a cotton mask as it can absorb more moisture.
Masks shouldn’t be worn for longer than five hours anyway.
It’s important that your mask doesn’t indirectly cause you to drink less water.
Keeping hydrated will help control your body temperature and it’s perfectly fine to remove your mask for a moment to have a sip.
Just be careful when you’re moving your mask – try if you can to do it safely away from people and only touch the ear loops after using antibacterial hand gel.
Don’t be tempted to pour water over your face while wearing a mask as a wet mask is less effective in offering protection.
Don’t forget your SPF
You might feel a little lax about applying a liberal amount of sun cream if you’re wearing a mask, but it’s still important to wear high factor sun protection.
UV rays can penetrate your mask and increase your risk of skin cancer.
The Skin Cancer Foundation says that UVA rays are linked to to skin aging while UVB is linked to burning, so you need sun protection that covers you against both types.
This means looking out for a high SPF (protecting you from UVB) and broad spectrum protection (protecting you from UVA).
So that your skin doesn’t feel clogged or heavy, opt for a sunscreen with a light texture and avoid heavy layers of skincare and makeup.
If you want to wear these kinds of products, look for water based textures.
Bringing spare masks out with you on hot days is advisableCredit: Aaron Chown
Avoid the freezer
You might think it’s a clever idea to freeze your masks like you might do an item of clothing during a heatwave, but please refrain.
The BBC consulted an expert about this who warned it could lead to cold burns on the face – which would undoubtedly make wearing a mask even less comfortable…
Keep in mind that masks are designed to keep you safe first and foremost – any discomfort should be minimal.
Get out of the heat
Johns Hopkins University also advises anyone who feels lightheaded, dizzy or is finding it harder to breathe to get out of the heat.
They said: “How someone will respond to heat stress while wearing a mask depends on a combination of the intensity of the heat, duration of exposure and any underlying medical condition.
“Regardless of the type of mask, don’t try to make your face feel cooler by dousing the mask in water. Getting face coverings wet can compromise their filtration capabilities.”
On the hottest days of the year it’s smart to avoid make-up.
Even without a mask, make-up can clog pores when it mixes with sweat, leaving the face feeling hot, oily and extra sweaty.
So when a mask is added into the picture, its best just to stick with a water based moisturiser.