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Impact of personal protective equipment on acne vulgaris and rosacea

Presented by
Dr Giovanni Damiani, University of Milan, Italy
EADV 2020
Prolonged use of facial masks may aggravate common facial dermatoses such as acne vulgaris (AV) and rosacea.

Precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant increased use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in citizens who are not health-care workers, Dr Giovanni Damiani (University of Milan, Italy) and his team conducted a multi-centre, observational study consisting of 2 phases [1]. The first phase documented the prevalence of different mask types for 5 months, and the second phase documented the effect of masks on acne vulgaris and rosacea for 3 months.

Masks disrupt the microenvironment of the face, changing both the microbiome and the mycobiome. Wearing a mask also causes mechanical friction. The combination of these factors can cause aggravation of pre-existing acne vulgaris and rosacea.

Reporting on 15 patients (10 with acne vulgaris and 5 with rosacea) and using the Global Acne Grading System (GAGS), Dr Damiani and his team noted an increased severity of acne vulgaris and rosacea complaints, particularly in the cheeks, nose, and chin regions. The effect was more marked in cases in which non-surgical masks were used. Dermatoses complaints tripled after quarantine, after which mask usage increased. All patients were wearing a mask for a minimum of 6 hours per day.

The researchers recommend that mask regulation become mandatory to decrease facial dermatoses and that ad-hoc therapies be studied because mask acne (“maskne”) and mask rosacea are more resistant to therapies.

    1. Damiani G, et al. The impact of personal protective equipment on acne vulgaris and rosacea during the COVID-19 pandemics. FC01.07, EADV Virtual Congres, 29-31 October 2020.

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