Does your face mask need a breathing valve or not?

Whenever someone asks us a question about breathing valve and whether we have them, we answer twofold. First, do you really need it? Second, is it worth giving up style?


To moist or not to moist, that’s the question!

Once people start caring and they start wearing an anti pollution mask that is also efficient at the same time, some of them complain about having breathing problems. While this argument is common, it’s not an unexpected outcome. Just consider what’s happening if you put your hand in front of your mouth and/or nose. You will, for sure and at first, experience some breathing difficulties. That is, once again, expected but nothing to be concerned about.


Why is that so?

Well, an anti pollution facemask with an activated carbon cotton filter is only a good one if it impacts your breathing. At least a little bit. An effective filter is manufactured to hold back super tiny particles of the size of 2.5 microns in diameter, or bigger (Check out our article on this: link). Now, imagine how tight the material has to be to filter such small particulate matter. And at the end, you will be inhaling through the mask and the filter, and guess what? You are missing a little bit of that air which you usually get when you don’t wear a mask.

But this little downside effect will impact your life significantly, in a positive way. That part of the air that you do not breathe in anymore, will be mostly these tiny and harmful particles called Particulate Matter (aka ‘PM’). The effects are many fold: Your life will improve because you will breathe cleaner air. And no matter what, you will get used to your new breathing experience.

There are other reasons why you might not breathe as easy through a mask as without one. The following is one of the most common. Your lungs might already have consumed too much of the particulate matter and show signs of worsening. You may be at risk of developing COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). This is a serious disease. The airflow is obstructed due to an inflamed lung. Most of the people start encountering problems while performing simple tasks like walking or getting up stairs. Besides, COPD may never heal and has a considerably adverse impact on your life. Your life will never be the same; doing sports will be a luxury, walking will be a pain, and your sleep is gonna be disturbed.


Let’s get to the point

It is as simple as that: breathing valves are a luxury product attached to your mask, without really delivering the luxury design you would expect of it. What that means is that the breathing valve provides you with an extra benefit without giving you the looks of luxury. That is obviously subjective and a matter of interpretation by each and everyone.

Breathing valves are an improvement to functionality and effectivity, only. A breathing valve is beneficial to avoid building moist and, most importantly, improve your exhaling capability. Sometimes it even can help reduce the fog on your eye glasses. Generally though, the breathing valve has limited functionality because most of the face mask users complain about difficulty breathing in. But a breathing valve won’t help you with this, to say the least. The only upside from a breathing valve is to help you ease the pain of exhaling. Apart from that, a breathing valve on your mask is probably reminding you more about Darth Vader than anything else!

Health though should never be impressed by the looks (good or bad) but rather by its effectiveness. And to make a long story short: a breathing valve is an effective tool to help you exhale easier and reduce some of the moist that can build up inside your mask. But it doesn’t provide you with any benefits regarding inhaling.


Understand why a breathing valve does not help inhaling…

It is actually a simple product with a big impact. The material in most of the breathing valves used is made of durable PVC plastic at the outside and an elastic soft flap at the inside. While inhaling, the flap closes tightly to ensure no particles flow into the mask and your body. But at exhaling, the flap opens up to let the moist air go out. At the same time, the soft flap still makes sure that none of the fine particles enter your mask.

This process ensures a smoother breathing experience, at exhaling but not inhaling. The humidity in your mask will find an easier way out of your mask. So, your face and your mask are meant to stay drier and cleaner, if you have a mask with a breathing valve.


Be prepared to pay a little more for the breathing valve!

It is important to understand that the manufacturing process is a slight bit more complicated, even though, breathing valves are mostly made of simple plastic. A small piece of cloth of the mask has to be cut out. The diameter of this area is not to exceed the breathing valve diameter. Then, the breathing valve has to be attached to the mask. Finally, the mask has to pass a little safety test. The quality of the product is not to be compromised by the breathing valve. Hence, this additional feature can, and usually does, lead to a more expensive buying experience.


In the market, there are obviously also different qualities of breathing valves available. So, ensure to read the reviews of the products before buying. From our side, we are looking forward to your feedback. Tell us which breathing valves you have used/tested and which ones you prefer.

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