Over the past year, face masks have become a part of life as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The term "mask-ne" became a part of our vocabulary as many suffered their first acne breakouts since their teenage years or ever.
However, more recent studies have shown that ubiquitous mask wearing has also worsened rosacea in those people who suffer from it. The first study we will highlight is a survey of rosacea patients from Germany and Canada conducted from December 2020 through January 2021.
The findings from this first study showed that 63% of rosacea patients felt that their condition had worsened due to mask wearing over the previous year. Of that worsened sub-group, 72% developed pimples or pustules, 75% experienced increased redness, and 53% noticed more frequent flare-ups of their symptoms. Interestingly and paradoxically, many rosacea sufferers who had worsened symptoms admitted to wearing their mask more in public to hide their worsening disease from others!
The second recent study from Italy looked at the effects of mask wearing on patients with rosacea and acne. Researchers evaluated 36 patients with rosacea before the quarantine began, and then 6 weeks after these patients wore face masks for an average of 8 hours/day.
Within this second study, all patients had documented significant increases in development of pustules or pimples, flushing, and generalized redness. The researchers noted that increased hours of facial mask use increased the severity of the disease symptoms. In addition, it was noted that the more occlusive the mask (such as N95 versus surgical versus cloth mask), the more severe the redness and other symptoms.
The study authors in both cases still recommend that patients should follow public health directives to prevent spread of COVID-19 and wear a face mask as directed. However, they did recommend that if rosacea worsening occurs, patients should reach out to their local health care professionals for evaluation and treatment.
Here at Maine Laser Skin Care, we have seen first hand the effects of mask wearing on both acne and rosacea. Fortunately, many of our therapies for these conditions have worked well despite the flare-ups from the necessary wearing of face masks.
If you have rosacea and have had worsening over the course of this pandemic, call and book an appointment with us so we can get you back on track to look better in a post-facemask world. Because we have been excessively busy as people are venturing out into the world again and wanting to look better, call us soon either in Augusta at (207) 873-2158 or in Scarborough at (207) 303-0125.