Covering Up: The Sunglasses and Face Mask Dilemma

, , Leave a comment


Face masks are the norm these days. Some states have mask mandates in place for adults and children of a certain age whenever they venture out of their homes. Other states are less restrictive while counties and local municipalities have stepped in with their own mandates. And of course, summer also brings out the sunglasses. Now we have a dilemma.

This dilemma has little to do with sunglasses getting fogged up by air escaping from the top edges of a loosely fitting mask. Rather, it is one of covering the face in a way that most of us are not used too. We are not comfortable with it, either.

Showing Very Little Skin

Face masks are designed to cover the entire face from the bridge of the nose to underneath the chin. Worn correctly, a mask covers more than half the skin on the face. The look prevents us from recognizing one another as quickly as we are used to, even before you add sunglasses. But the minute you put on a pair of shades, recognizing one another becomes nearly impossible.

Today’s emphasis on oversized sunglasses isn’t helping. What little skin might have been viewable between one’s mask and sunglasses is completely eliminated by sunglasses designed to be big and bold. The biggest sunglasses can obscure whatever skin is left untouched by the mask.

There is a social media meme on this very topic circulating right now. The meme features images of several children who are completely unrecognizable thanks to their masks and sunglasses. Those images clearly illustrate how easy it is to obscure someone’s identity by covering the face.

Communication Is More Difficult

Not being able to identify people is problematic enough. Yet there is something else to be concerned about: the expressions our faces show are communication tools. We pick up on one another’s emotional cues by paying attention to what is happening with facial expressions.

Most of us are skilled enough to know when someone is angry just by looking at his or her face. The same goes for emotions of sadness, joy, etc. But cover a face with a mask and a pair of oversized sunglasses and expressions are lost underneath. We look at one another and have no idea what thoughts and emotions are present.

This is not good. Why? Not being able to read one another’s faces is an open invitation to miscommunication and misunderstandings. Moreover, covering our faces entirely is making us afraid of one another. That’s not good either.

A Possible Solution

So, is there anything we can do about this mask and sunglasses dilemma? Yes, there are two things. Let us start with the sunglasses. Salt Lake City’s Olympic Eyewear recommends forgoing oversized sunglasses strictly for fashion sense. If you need them for medical reasons, go ahead and wear them. Otherwise, consider smaller frames that do not cover so much skin.

Read more; Dive into the latest trend and buy yourself the modern hanbok today!

You can also consider semi-translucent lenses that still allow at least a slight glimpse of the eyes. Remember that UV protection has nothing to do with tint. You can wear semi-translucent lenses with full UV protection.

As for the masks, consider when and where you wear one. In most states and local municipalities, masks are not necessary as long as you are able to maintain 6 feet of physical distance. If you can keep that distance and you are comfortable taking off your mask, at least consider it.

A face mask alone hinders facial recognition quite a bit. Add sunglasses and you suddenly have trouble recognizing both faces and expressions. It is a real dilemma right now.


Leave a Reply