If you’ve ever sucked your cloth mask into your mouth when inhaling or experienced “maskne” breakouts, you may have turned to the internet for a solution. And it’s possible your searching revealed a face mask accessory called a frame or bracket, leading you to wonder, "Is it okay to use a face mask bracket?"
A face mask frame or bracket is a plastic or silicone device that fits beneath a classic style mask and creates space between your face and the mask.
These products reportedly make it easier to breathe, reduce skin breakouts, help hold makeup in place, and reduce eyeglass fogging, among other claims. But do they work? And are they safe to use?
There’s no research whatsoever to support any of the claims that face mask bracket sellers make about the benefits of their products.
And while there’s also no research that says they’re ineffective, you don’t have to be a scientist to spot a serious potential flaw: If the bracket creates gaps between the mask and your cheeks, your mask may fit improperly, allowing droplets to escape or enter and defeating the purpose of the mask.
If you do decide to invest in a mask bracket, be sure the product works with your mask to create a seal between all mask edges and your skin. Some manufacturers recommend using double-sided tape to affix the mask to the frame to ensure no gaps occur (which may not be kind to your skin).
Also be aware that the frame will collect droplets every time you breathe out, so you should wash your mask bracket after each use (and your mask, too, for that matter). Lastly, carefully review the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Some of these frames are designed for use only with disposable masks, not with cloth masks.
Bottom line: Whether or not you decide to try a mask bracket, be sure to wear a mask every time you go out in public. And wear it properly -- over your mouth and nose with no gaps, which is especially important now that more contagious COVID-19 variants exist.