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COVID-19 Masks Heighten the Severity of Acne and Rosacea

According to a recent study published in Dermatologic Therapy, masks worn to halt the spread of COVID-19 have been shown to trigger acne and rosacea flares.

With masks being used to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, recent evidence suggested that masks alter the cutaneous facial microenvironment and trigger facial dermatoses. Therefore, an observational, prospective study was conducted to evaluate mask-related incidences for untreated patients with either rosacea or acne during lockdown. A total of 66 patients with stable, untreated acne and rosacea who wore their masks typically 6 hours a day were recruited. Each patient attended two teledermatological consultations at minimum and, after 6 weeks of analysis, clinical, pharmacologic, and psychologic data were recorded.

Within the study, 30 patients (median age, 34 years) had acne and 36 (median age, 48 years) had rosacea. At the conclusion of those 6 weeks, the acne group had an increase in their Global Acne Grading Scale (GAGS) scores particularly in mask-related areas (P<.0001). Similarly, the rosacea group also experienced a worsened condition as recorded both by physicians and patients. In both cases, patients expressed an statistically significant decrease in quality of life.

The study concluded that while masks are important in preventing the spread of COVID-19, there is a clear relation between mask wearing and the rise of acne/rosacea flares. Thus, further studies are encouraged to collect more data and enhance the clinical decision-making process.Jessica Garlewicz


Damiani G, Gironi LC, Grada A, et al. COVID-19 related masks increase severity of both acne (maskne) and rosacea (mask rosacea): multi-center, real-life, telemedical, observational prospective study. Dermatol Ther. Published online February 3, 2021. doi:10.1111/dth.14848

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