Prior to the industrial revolution the legal cultivation of hemp was halted, it was a popular utilitarian plant grown by many. Political interests and the influence of corporate bodies fostered the ban on the product leading to years of uncertainties. Thankfully, those days are behind us and things are gradually changing. We can now maximize the natural product to its full potential. This includes much more than just using hemp for its cannabinoids. It is used to create building materials known as hempcrete and used in food industries.
Hemp is used in manufacturing fiber used for producing face masks. It is an important component of fabric industries too which is why it is largely used to make durable face masks. The common type of face masks used are cotton face masks and disposable plastics however, hemp face masks are gradually replacing them. This article will help to analyze the differences between cotton face masks and hemp face masks while stating why you should forgo cotton face masks for hemp ones.
Advantages of hemp face masks over cotton ones
Hemp is more resilient and comfortable
Cotton fibers are very comfortable which is one of the reasons why they are used to make face masks. The natural fibers are very soft and subsequent washing makes them softer and more comfortable. This series of washing eventually makes the fibers extremely soft and they become ragged and worn out. The fibers begin to break which reduces their integrity and proves that they are not very resilient.
Hemp on the other hand is as strong a fiber as natural cotton. Much like cotton, it also becomes softer after series of washing but it has better endurance than cotton. The fibers have strong tensile strength which means that the fibers do not become damaged with consistent washing. Hemp is also amorphous which is a character that ensures that irrespective of stretching applied to the fibers, it maintains its shape. This makes hemp face masks more resilient compared to cotton face masks. Another consequence of this is that hemp face masks are also more comfortable than cotton face masks.
Hemp has antimicrobial activity and is breathable
One advantage that has helped to propagate the use of cotton as a face mask material is the substantial breathability available within the fibers. Cotton fibers process enough pores to ensure that users can breathe while having the face masks on. This same feature is present with hemp face masks. Hemp is a natural fiber similar to cotton which means it has substantial breathability with another added advantage of antimicrobial activity.
Cotton face masks absorb moisture which naturally helps to reduce body odor while using the face masks. However, an unexpected consequence of this effect is that by absorbing the moisture, the cotton face masks begin to develop a certain odor. The face masks also become susceptible to the growth of mold or mildew. To counter this, the expected move is to wash the face masks more however this has already been proven to make the fibers worn out. Hemp, on the other hand, is a natural antimicrobial which means it smells better without the growth of mold or mildew.
Hemp is more environmentally sustainable
A pound of cotton is normally produced with over 1400 gallons of water. Statistics also show that a whopping 3% of the water used in agriculture is directed towards cotton. The implication of this environmentally is a considerable amount of water resources goes into the production of cotton. This might prove to be unsustainable for some countries with limited access to water and other issues such as desertification.
Hemp on the other hand doesn’t require this much water for production. It is more sustainable for any environment because it grows faster and the manufacturing process is also faster. Less than half the amount of water needed to produce the same quantity of cotton is needed for the manufacturing of hemp. It also gives more fiber than cotton cultivated within the same space of land.
Pesticides are also used for treating cotton fibers and they may prove to be a risk to the skin. Despite the fact that there are processes to remove these pesticide residues when insufficiently removed they are a problem. The presence of these pesticide residues can promote some allergic reactions on the skin or give rise to unwanted effects. Hemp on the other hand is not tested with pesticides which means it is not a risk to people with chemically sensitive skin and is a viable alternative to cotton.
Hemp has UV-blocking properties
When face masks are used in hot summers, it is an added advantage if the fibers of the face masks have UV-blocking properties. With hemp fibers, the face is consciously protected from harmful UV rays as opposed to cotton fibers which offer no protection. Studies have shown that hemp is fully effective in blocking UV-A and UV-B rays. This remains one of the biggest advantages of hemp face masks over cotton face masks.
Hemp face masks are more attractive and last longer
Hemp fibers are naturally tough which means they cannot be easily ripped like cotton fibers. Hemp fibers are abrasion-resistant which means they have a higher probability of lasting longer than cotton face masks. It also has the added advantage of being biodegradable which makes it an environmental blessing.
Hemp fabrics can also be spun in a different range of colors. Without dyes, hemp fibers can be white, green, grey, brown, or black. The presence of multiple colors helps to make hemp face masks more pleasing and attractive than cotton face masks.
Hemp face masks are bound to increase in demand soon and it will be no surprise why. The advantages of hemp show it is a better option to cotton face masks both for the users and producers of the natural fiber. With the demand for face masks are increasing, more hemp face masks are bound to be in circulation and a bit of simple advice would be to switch from cotton to hemp face masks asap.
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