Dermatologists warn that wearing a face mask for extended periods is causing some people to have severe outbreaks of skin conditions like eczema and acne.
Experts investigated instances of the most common causes of facial conditions directly caused by wearing face masks and other PPE, a phenomenon known as maskne.
The team from King’s College Hospital, London studied all forms of facial PPE, including face shields, visors, safety glasses, surgical masks and respirators.
The article, printed in the British Medical Journal, was written to assist doctors and specialists diagnose maskne and identify skin breakouts not linked to PPE.
It highlights a variety of images presenting various kinds of facial skin conditions caused as a direct result of mask-wearing, that were used to create flow chart specialists can follow to better diagnose and in turn treat a particular condition.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to a notable increase in people wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), particularly masks due to government regulations.
The term maskne has become increasingly prevalent during the pandemic, where it’s used to describe several facial skin conditions caused by mask-wearing.
Individuals frequently buy costly but potentially ineffective treatments for these conditions, so King’s College Hospital researchers set out to improve diagnosis.
The authors of the article wrote that in this practice pointer they summarised the most common causes of facial eruptions associated with wearing facial PPE.
They also highlight the key areas to cover when assessing someone with new or worsening pre-existing facial dermatoses that they attribute to the use of facial PPE.
The researchers, including Emily Rudd, dermatology senior clinical fellow and Sarah Walsh, dermatology consultant wanted to make diagnosis more consistent.
They said that facial skin defects associated with PPE have been well described in earlier research, but doctors and specialists are using graphic terms to explain outbreaks.
And based on limited available evidence, mask related acne and irritant contact dermatitis are the most common facial dermatoses associated with mask-wearing.
A cross-sectional study of 833 medical school staff in Thailand helped inform some of this research, including healthcare and non-healthcare workers.
That study revealed that 54 per cent of those in the study self-reported instances of adverse skin reactions to wearing surgical or cloth masks.
And according to the team behind the BMJ article, typically, a patient presents with new-onset facial eruption or worsening of a pre-existing dermatosis that is most noticeable in the region covered by the mask.
Of course, people were not meant to wear masks, and even though as human beings we have evolved and adapted to our surroundings, that’s taken hundreds and thousands of years, so it would take that to evolve into wearing masks.
Although, I’m sure that we weren’t designed to inhale dangerous viruses either, but a person would have to choose which would be the lesser of the two evils, and you also have to consider what all those fibres being inhaled into our lungs will do to us.
We’re not supposed to be wearing a mask on our faces, especially for long periods, and the build-up of moisture beneath the mask will of course cause skin problems.
Bacteria loves warm, moist places and will thrive under a mask, and you’re basically giving yourself nappy rash on your face, and we shouldn’t be accepting the prospect of skin infections and long term medications to manage it, just because the government tells us that we have to wear a mask.