The Best Materials for Making a Surgical Face Mask

When we set out to combat the new demand for surgical face masks, we knew wanted to use the highest quality materials possible, in order to give our clients an incredibly effective face mask. So, after thorough research on all mask elements – from the filter material to the nose bridge – and consulting with the biomedical scientist on our team, we are confident that our OBISK Type IIR masks are made using the best materials for a surgical face mask…

Outer Layer

The first is the blue outer layer. We use PP Spunbond Nonwoven fabric with a hydrophobic treatment to make it splash-resistant. This is important for protecting the wearer from external water droplets and also preventing any water molecules from the wearer’s breath/spit from leaving the mask. The reason this layer is blue is to help indicate which way round to wear the mask.

Inner Layer

Next up, we have the inner layer, or the Meltblown layer. The purpose of this layer is to filter out any harmful particles and, in the case of a Type IIR mask, this means bacterial filtration. A Type IIR mask will need to achieve a Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) in excess of 98% which is what our PP Meltblown Nonwoven fabric achieves.

As we’ve gone through the COVID-19 crisis, Meltblown has become one of the scarcest materials in the world. As it plays such an important part of the mask, we’ve made the decision to bring the manufacturing of this material in-house. From August, we will be producing our own Meltblown material and this will help us to continue to supply our clients at all times.

Reverse Layer

For the final layer, we have our PP Spunbond Nonwoven fabric with a hydrophilic additive. This is the layer that sits against the wearer’s face so it’s got to be comfortable for the user to wear for an extended period of time.

This layer isn’t just for comfort though. The hydrophilic additive attracts water molecules and wicks moisture away from the wearer’s face. This keeps the mask from becoming saturated too quickly so that it remains effective for longer. It also keeps the air behind the mask from getting too humid which could make it uncomfortable to wear.

Nose Wire

Next, we can move onto the nose wire which is really important because this is what creates the seal around the top of the mask. It needs to be malleable so a user can use it to fit the mask to their face. If you don’t have this strip in the mask, it can leave you with glasses fogging up and also air escaping out the top of the mask. Plus, a nose wire is one of the requirements to meet the European EN14683 standard of surgical face masks.

Our nose bridge is made from plastic covered steel wire. It’s flexible but hold its shape and the plastic covering stops any sharp bits of the wire poking through the mask. This wire is then sewn into a pocket on the outside of the mask. That means there are three layers of fabric between it and the wearer’s skin to reduce rubbing.

Ear Loops

Finally, we have the ear loop material. The ear material’s elasticity is absolutely key. If you have too little elasticity, it can be uncomfortable for some users as this means the mask will pull on their ears. On the other hand, too much elasticity means you won’t get a tight fit around your face.

This is something that varies quite a lot. Some options will only stretch to around 80% whereas some of the higher quality materials will stretch to closer to 200%. For our OBISK face masks, we use the high quality ear loops with a 200% elasticity.

Our OBISK Type IIR disposable masks are designed for maximum efficiency and comfort. Why not get a regular, guaranteed supply of these high quality masks to keep your business in stock? Our monthly subscriptions start from only £12.50 – find out more here.