Benefits of a silk mask and how to wash and care for it

Benefits of a silk mask and how to wash and care for it

It has been more than a year into Covid 19, more than a year of wearing masks for most of us.

Although I have been in the healthcare sector for close to a decade, masks are something I have never got used to. Prior to COVID, short stints of wearing a mask often caused pimples, angry red patches or eczema on my face.

Imagine the disaster on my face when mask wearing became mandatory. Mask-ne became a long-term resident on my face.

Why should I wear a silk mask

It is better for your skin, health, wallet and environment. Does it sound like a strange combination? I’ll explain more in this post. In fact, virus transmission and COVID aside, there are tons of benefits to wearing a silk mask. I have a separate post here [Link] to address maskne and silk masks.

Benefits of a silk mask and how to wash and care for it
Picture credits to: bellsandbirds. I love their silk slips and masks.

What are the benefits of wearing a silk mask

There are many benefits to wearing silk masks. I will share more about why and how it is beneficial for our skin, health, environment and wallet; as well as how to care for your silk mask below:

Why are silk face masks better for your skin

Silk is soft, gentle and friendly to the skin. It is almost friction free and definitely less abrasive compared to masks of other fabrics.

Micro friction from other fabrics, like cotton masks or disposable surgical masks, tends to irritate the surface of our skin. With prolonged wear, most of us would end up with skin issues.

Silk having finer and smoother fibres alleviates this issue, which makes it a better choice for our skin.

Does silk masks stop acne and maskne

As many of you know, acne and maskne is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria.

Silk as a fabric, has antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is an effective barrier against bacteria and viruses, reducing the risk of clogged pores and maskne. If you have sensitive skin like I do, it may not stop maskne and acne but it will lessen the severity of it.

Benefits of a silk mask and how to wash and care for it
The after effects of maskne. I have been wearing silk masks for more than 3 months now, but I still have left over stubborn maskne scars on my jaw and cheeks where the surgical masks commonly touches.

Why are silk mask better for acne-prone skin

Silk is naturally hypoallergenic

Even if you are blessed with acne free skin, you may still experience skin allergies or irritation while wearing face masks. Silk is naturally hypoallergenic unlike cotton or synthetic fabrics. Silk fibres contain sericin that naturally repels pests and mites. Here’s more about silk [Link to: ‘What is silk’]

Silk masks are more suitable if you are prone to eczema flare ups, rashes or other skin allergies. Again, read the post about Maskne! [Link here]

Is silk really more breathable compared to other fabrics

Most masks are designed to limit airflow to prevent the transmission of bacteria and viruses. Silk is naturally cool, lightweight and breathable; making it easier to breathe through a silk mask than other fabrics.

Try holding a silk garment and breathing through it, repeat the same with a cotton garment. You will find that the silk garment allows you to breathe with more ease.

Benefits of a silk mask and how to wash and care for it
Silk fabric (L) with a tightly woven fibres, compared to a cotton mask(R) with wider weaves. You can actually see tiny spaces between the weave of the cotton threads. Yet, it is easier to breathe through silk.

Are silk masks effective against the spread of viruses?

Silk masks has been proven to be effective in preventing the spread of germs, bacteria and viruses.

Masks made of silk, when compared to cotton and polyester, are more effective as a moisture barrier. It repels water and respiratory droplets better, reducing the risk of germ, bacteria and virus transmission.

Are silk masks effective against COVID

I am not giving out professional medical advice here, but wearing a silk mask is definitely better than not wearing any masks!

If it interests you, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Cincinnati found that besides single-use N95 respirator or surgical masks, silks masks were the next best option to prevent the spread of COVID or other viruses.

‘Silk contains natural antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiviral properties that could help ward off the virus’, said Patrick Guerra, assistant professor of biology in University of Cincinnati. Here’s the research paper if anyone is interested (Link)

Silk masks are more chic, stylish and perhaps fashionable

Prior to COVID, masks for fashion were something you would see in anime. Today, you can even buy printed masks that match your outfit.

Silk garments are luxurious and elegant, and this translates through silk masks as well. If you are still not convinced, a silk mask looks better than a disposable surgical mask, doesn’t it?

Benefits of a silk mask and how to wash and care for it
Unless you have a plague mask from the victorian era which I think may potentially look more fashionable than silk masks.

Are silk masks environmentally friendly

One time use disposable surgical mask VS a washable silk mask. Need I explain more? If you handwash your silk mask with care, like your silk items [Link here], they can be reused for a long period of time!

Are silk masks affordable

It is relatively affordable, in the long run. 3 words. Cost per wear. One silk mask versus a box of disposable masks. There is a chance that the box of masks may still be cheaper or the same price.


In the long run, looking at cost per wear, the cost would easily even out or be even cheaper.

How to care for your silk mask

Treat it like any other silk garment, with tender loving care. Wash your mask after each use, ensuring that your mask is completely dry before wearing it. If your skin is sensitive like mine, you might want to carry an extra one on you at all times, so you have the option of changing your mask when you sweat in order to fully prevent breakouts.

I actually have the habit of changing my silk masks after lunch daily, which seems to keep my skin happier!

Benefits of a silk mask and how to wash and care for it
My mulberry silk masks for the day

How to wash a silk mask with pictures and step by step instructions

It is very similar to handwashing other silk garments that I mentioned previously [Link Here].

Prepare a bath of cool soapy water.

Fill a basin with soap and water then agitate it, until it produces bubbles. I use antibacterial soap for this purpose. You can use a mixture of antibacterial soap and delicates wash as well – I do not do this as my skin is really sensitive and silk masks that has been washed with delicates wash gives me rashes on the face.

Benefits of a silk mask and how to wash and care for it
Feel free to add a bit of delicate wash for silk into this mixture if it does not irritate your skin. The delicates wash helps soften the silk mask and make it less crisp when dried.

Soak your silk mask for a few minutes

Soak your silk masks for 3-5 minutes. I tend to wash a couple of masks together, saves water and is more environmentally friendly. Remember to swish the mask around a bit to dislodge any dirt. Unless your mask is stained, there isn’t really a need to rub it.

Remove any stains from the masks by spot washing

If your mask is stained, rub it against itself in the soapy water. If it doesn’t come off immediately, add some more soap to the area and spot wash the area [Click here to learn about stain removal from silk].

Rinse and squeeze dry

Rinse your masks in clean cool water until it is no longer soapy. Then, Remove excess water from the silk mask by gently squeezing it. If your silk mask has a moldable nose piece like mine, ensure you do not damage the nose wire by folding the mask carefully before you squeeze it. Remember not to wring it!

Benefits of a silk mask and how to wash and care for it
fold the silk mask carefully to avoid crushing the nose piece, squeeze dry. Do not wring!

Hang it up to dry

Straighten out the wrinkles and creases and hang it up to dry away from direct sunlight, in a well ventilated area.

Benefits of a silk mask and how to wash and care for it
Remember to reshape your masks to remove wrinkles and hang dry. Extreme left and right ones are cotton masks.

Feel free to iron or steam any remaining wrinkles out

If you like your silk masks crisps and wrinkle free, feel free to iron (Link here) or steam it (Link here) like you would, any other silk item.

Additional note:

You might be tempted to soak it in some delicates softener or conditioner to reduce wrinkling of the silk fabric. But I would advise against it if you have sensitive skin or nose!

I have noticed a few more pimples on my chin and cheeks when I soak my silk face mask in delicates conditioner. It also makes me sneeze when I put the mask on.

Is a silk mask worth the hassle compared to a disposable surgical mask?

My skin is terribly temperamental and prolonged wear of surgical masks results in painful bumps, dry itchy skin, eczema. The list goes on. Superficial beauty aside, these skin conditions cause me physical pain and discomfort.

The answer is clear for me, silk masks are a necessity and I’ll take the time and effort to care for them. If you have not used a silk mask before, perhaps buy one, give it a try and let me know what you think!