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Study Shows Face Masks Can Worsen Rosacea

April 13, 2021

Adam Lueken


Even though patients with rosacea have access to more improved treatments than ever before, the National Rosacea Society (NRS) reports that many still struggle with this condition and/or are receiving treatment that may not be best suited for their specific needs. Currently more than 16 million Americans are dealing with rosacea. The NRS has designated April as Rosacea Awareness Month in an effort to educate the public on this potentially serious condition.

As you treat cases of rosacea, you may need to consider another contemporary factor that could be contributing to rosacea outbreaks. A recent study conducted by Galderma, a Swiss pharmaceutical company specializing in dermatological treatments and skincare products, says that face masks can worsen rosacea.1 The COVID-19 pandemic has made mask-wearing common and/or essential throughout the world. But masks have also been shown to negatively affect the skin in some cases. You’ve no doubt heard of the term “maskne” by now. Looks like rosacea can be included in that list now too.

Their online survey included 220 respondents from Canada and Germany who were polled from December 2020 to January 2021. The results showed that almost two-thirds (63%) have seen worsening of their symptoms related to mask-wearing, including redness (75%), pimples and/or pustules (72%) and more flare-ups (53%). Galderma states that 87% of respondents said they had a rosacea diagnosis from a healthcare provider and that 13% were not diagnosed but believed they had the chronic skin disease.1

Despite increased symptoms, over 1 in 2 (52%) people surveyed said they wore a mask to hide their rosacea, and 40% are not going out as often in order to avoid wearing a mask. The survey also revealed that almost a third (30%) are spending more time on their skincare routine during the pandemic.

Additionally, nearly half (48%) have changed how they manage their disease since mask-wearing, with 51% trying a non-prescription product and only 27% having been prescribed a new treatment.1

In addition, it was reported that only a third (33%) of respondents have visited a healthcare provider in person since the pandemic began, with only 8% having a video consultation. Of those who have not booked an appointment, 47% stated they have not wanted to book an appointment, while 21% have been unable to book one.1

Aliene Noda, global medical franchise lead for rosacea and onco-dermatology prescription GBU for Galderma said, “With just a third of rosacea sufferers surveyed booking an appointment with their healthcare provider during the pandemic, there is a huge cause for concern. Our survey suggests that more patients may be self-treating which could mean they are using products that are not specifically tailored for their skin disease and this could, ultimately, do more harm than good.”1

Right now, mask-wearing is still encouraged (and required in some instances) by public health directives. So the prevalence of mask-related skin issues, including rosacea, may continue to stick around as we work our way through the pandemic. Investigators recommended strengthening rosacea therapy if patients report worsening of any of their symptoms in relation to wearing face masks. They also added that the type of mask worn could factor in the severity of how a patient is affected.

If you need extra help with educating patients, we’re always a phone call or click away to support your needs. Schedule a consultation with one of our practice management experts today!

1 Galderma online survey reveals essential COVID-19 mask-wearing can be worsening rosacea skin disease. News release. Galderma. February 19, 2021. https://www.prnewswire.com/in/news-releases/galderma-online-survey-reveals-essential-covid-19-mask-wearing-can-be-worsening-rosacea-skin-disease-832672850.html



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