Essential Oil applied to a face mask

Posted by: Penny | 29 Apr, 2020

Can I apply Essential Oil to my face mask?

For many year, scientists have published results demonstrating the efficacy of Australian Tea Tree Oil against a wide range of microbials, from bacteria to fungi, yeasts, and viruses.

Based on these scientific studies, when pure Australian Tea Tree Oil is in close proximity with a virus, its anti-viral mode of action disrupts the proper functioning of the virus. This could offer potential functional benefits to manufacturers of personal care, home care and medicinal products.  [CLICK HERE to learn more about how this works]

Now, what if we applied Tea Tree Oil (or other essential oils) to a face mask? Will it offer any protection?

The answer is Yes and No!

If you are using a cloth mask, essential oils – including and especially pure Australian Tea Tree Oil – could be a wonderful addition.

However, if you are using a surgical face mask, the answer is definitely NO.  Surgical type facemasks typically have three layers:

1. External layer of a non-woven material

2. Skin-facing layer, also of a non-woven material

3. Middle layer of a polypropylene (pp) material

The middle layer of a surgical type facemask is the most important material.  This layer works as a microfilter and could melt when in contact with a polymer solvent, and this includes essential oils. This would reduce the mask’s functionality for filtering viruses and other microbes.



This video illustrates what happens when you apply an essential oil directly to a surgical face mask.

As you can see, the essential oil creates a porosity of the polypropylene layer in the mask, allowing the water to pass through - i.e. rendering the mask ineffective.  



If you are looking at using pure Australian Tea Tree Oil (or other essential oils with known anti-microbial properties) to increase your protection, consider adding the essential oil into a hand soap, hand sanitizer or moisturizer. You could also consider mixing Tea Tree Oil with a carrier oil and apply it directly to the nose region, or even inside the nostril.  You only need a small amount, 1% to 3% should be plenty.

Of course, to make sure it is safe and effective, confirm the freshness and purity of your Tea Tree Oil – make sure it is pure Australian Tea Tree Oil.

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