The manufacturers of these mask brackets, which are typically made of silicone, claim that they keep the cloth masks from touching your face, ultimately helping to prevent acne caused by masks or so-called “maskne.” They also claim the brackets help protect lipstick and makeup, keep the mask from getting stained, and enable easier breathing and comfort, according to multiple advertisements Fox News found while researching the product.
Many of the brackets seem to have a similar design, a pear-like shape with the wider bottom securing around the chin. The cloth face mask can securely attach to the brackets, allowing space between the cloth and the wearer’s skin.
Though there appear to be no reports about the safety of these devices at this time, some infectious disease experts have voiced concerns about the brackets impacting the effectiveness of the mask, which should cover the wearer’s nose and mouth and fit snuggly around the sides of the face.
“Because some people have expressed strong opinions that wearing a mask is difficult because it is uncomfortable, all sorts of different ideas are being brought forward to increase mask usage by making them more comfortable. While that is good in theory, any contraption or device that actually weakens the ability of the mask to work is actually not good,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Aaron Glatt, an epidemiologist from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, told Fox News.
“I am not aware of any studies looking at these bracketed masks, but there [is] certainly the potential that they will allow air to go out and be brought in bypassing the mask because it pushes the mask away from the face,” Glatt, also the chair of the department of medicine at Mount Sinai South Nassau, continued. “As with all new products, ideally there should be some evaluation to demonstrate that they accomplish what they claim to be able to do. Till then, I would be wary.”
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states on its website that masks with two or more layers are most effective when it comes to stopping the spread of coronavirus. Face masks should cover your nose and mouth and fit snuggly against the sides of your face to avoid any gaps, per the CDC, which did not comment at this time on face mask brackets.