• Dhiren Mahiban

Covid-19: Mask-wearing leads to facial dermatoses in joggers


Joggers wearing face masks as a preventive measure against Covid-19 experienced facial dermatoses such as acne, dermatitis, cheilitis and irritant dermatitis, according to a study conducted in India.

The study, published online ahead of print in the journal Dermatologic Therapy (Sept. 10, 2020), found 57.9% of joggers studied reported skin issues during the lockdown period in India from Apr. 1 to May 25, 2020.

The researchers note that due to Covid-19, facilities such as gyms and recreational centres have been closed. As a result, many are resorting to jogging as a form of physical activity.

The study’s researchers observed a group of 19 individuals who were jogging regularly. The Google Fit app was used to track the participants’ activity. Patients with previous reactions to masks were excluded.

The most commonly noted dermatoses was facial acne (54.55%), followed by friction dermatitis (45.5%). Pressure dermatitis was seen in 36.36% and cheilitis and rates of irritant dermatitis which were 27.27% and 18.18%, respectively.

Researchers found the most common symptom was pruritus (72.73%), while the most observed sign was erythema (53.55%).

“Interestingly, we observed, regardless of the masks they wore N‐95, homemade, cloth mask or surgical masks, the patients still were affected with various dermatoses,” the researchers wrote.

The mean distance ran as well as the mean duration of activity and the mean duration of mask-wearing among joggers who developed lesions and those who did not was insignificant, according to the study’s authors.

“Jogging-induced dermatoses occurs mainly due to the occlusion and hyper‐hydration effect of PPE,” said the researchers.

The researchers note that a breach in skin barrier may create a portal of entry for Covid‐19 since angiotensin‐converting enzyme 2, the cell receptor for SARS‐CoV‐2, is abundantly present in blood vessels of the skin and the basal layer of the epidermis.

As a result, the study’s authors fear that the dermatoses-induced skin breach and irritation, and frequent touching of the face due to the latter, may increase the exposure and entry of Covid-19 infection.

The researchers recommend that regular breaks and removing the excess sweat accumulation may help in the alleviation of dermatoses. Further, adequate hydration, which is one of the essential preventive measures against Covid-19, is also useful to avoid dehydration-induced dermatosis and dry skin.

Additionally, the study’s investigators suggest moisturizers or emollients are needed to restore the integrity of skin and should be applied at least 30 minutes prior to wearing a mask, to prevent any damage that might inhibit the properties of the mask.

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