Finding the best face mask for Covid: Considerations & FAQs

masks in a cloud

Search for the best face mask for covid on your device and you will be deluged with pages upon pages of advertising. But with some basic knowledge about face masks and understanding your risk of exposure, you can make the best choice for protection.

Droplets and particles from talking, coughing, sneezing, and singing can cause infection. Studies show that risk is greatly reduced with a high-quality mask.

Most popular face masks

Cloth, disposable procedure masks, N95 and other respirators, and even neck gaiters and bandanas are frequently used face mask options. But all options are not created equal!

Cloth face masks

The NIH concluded that  cloth face masks have limited efficacy in combating viral infection transmission. The filtration effectiveness of cloth masks is generally lower than that of medical masks and respirators. Loosely woven cloth products provide the least protection. But in multilayer cloth masks, designed to fit around the face and made of water resistant fabric with a high thread count do provide protection and may be used to prevent community spread.

Also made of cloth are bandana and gaiters but they are not recommended. A study by Duke University revealed that gaiters and bandanas performed the worst of all face coverings. Gaiter actually produced more particles than no face mask at all!

Disposable procedure masks

They are sometimes referred to as surgical or medical procedure masks. These are widely available. These products range in quality depending on whether they are one, two, or three ply and if the level of lab testing certification for bacterial filtration efficiency and breathability.

N-95 respirator

Well fitting NIOSH approved respirators offer the highest protection and should be used by healthcare workers and those at the highest level of exposure such as medical professionals caring for patients with COVID-19. These masks should be fit-tested and be worn properly to be optimally effective. While these respirators offer a higher level of protection than procedural masks, they are not necessary to protect from the virus under normal circumstances.

Considerations for choosing a face mask

There are many considerations when choosing a face mask. Has the mask been tested? What is the level of testing? Do you have low, moderate, or high levels of exposure? Are you in a high risk health category? Do you have skin sensitivities? Are you allergic to chemicals? What is the environmental impact of your choice?

Look for masks that have been ASTM tested. This certification will tell you if the mask meets bacterial filtration and breathability standards. Virus is spread through droplets. Level 1 face masks are for low risk of fluid exposure, level 2 face masks are for moderate risk of fluid exposure, and level 3 face masks are used for high risk of fluid exposure.

People with skin sensitivities and allergies might respond poorly to standard blue disposable masks. Most are made of propylene and chemicals including formaldehyde. Look for a hypoallergenic mask to avoid irritation. Blue masks take generations to degrade and are filling landfills and littering natural areas harming wildlife and the food chain. EloMed’s bio face mask is lab tested, hypoallergenic, and biodegradable, making it a good choice for most.


What is the best face mask for travel?


Traveling in planes and mass transportation can bring us in close proximity to others. Make sure you choose a mask that meets level 2 or level 3 ASTM standards. If these standards are met, they should be listed on the mask's packaging. Be sure the mask fits properly on your face. We often see people with their masks pulled under their noses. Wearing a mask in this fashion will not protect you from exposure to COVID-19. Cloth masks are generally allowed in public areas but several domestic airlines do not allow coverings like bandanas and scarves. While cloth masks are allowed, they are not recommended for travel.


What is the best face mask for acne?

Face masks can induce acne in a condition named Maskne. Lack of air flow along with heat and humidity are conditions created by most face masks. Dead skin cells and dry oil on the skin’s surface can cause conditions that breed bacteria and fungi that can lead to acne. Most masks are made from polypropylene or other synthetic materials. During manufacturing hot melted plastic is pressed into shape, the straps are welded on before the masks are sterilized. This process makes these masks into dense synthetic objects that trap the moisture and heat from your breath. These conditions create an encouraging environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive. Look for a hypoallergenic mask made of natural materials and a high breathability rate such as ELoMed’s bio face mask to avoid creating the conditions that lead to Maskne.

What is the best face mask for someone with glasses?

What is most important in choosing a face mask to wear with glasses is the way it fits. Make sure the mask fits closely on your face and that it has a nose bridge to pinch tightly to seal around your nose. If you have a smaller face you can tie knots in the ear loops to shorten them to get a better fit. Choose the right fitting frames. Avoid a style with frames that sit on your cheeks to allow air circulation. If your glasses do hit your cheeks, let them rest on the mask instead of the face to keep your warm breath from rising and forming condensation on your glasses.

What is the best face mask for Delta?

The Delta variant is highly contagious and deadly. To protect yourself, do not use a cloth mask. Choose a well-fitting disposable mask. This in high risk situations or immunocompromised and consider N95 respirators.

What is the best face mask for Omicron?

Omicron is a highly contagious variant. Choose a face mask to for omicron that is ASTM lab tested to level 2 or 3. Make sure the mask is fitted properly on your face.


ELoMed the bio face mask is an excellent choice for most people in normal situations. They are lab tested to >98% bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) and have a high breathability rate. The masks are hypoallergenic. Made from plants, these masks are good for your skin and overall health. Not only that, they are biodegradable so they are good for the planet