Mask-induced dermatoses during the COVID-19 pandemic: a questionnaire-based study in 12 Korean hospitals

S. Y. Choi, J. Y. Hong, H. J. Kim, G. Y. Lee, S. H. Cheong, H. J. Jung, C. H. Bang, D. H. Lee, M. S. Jue, H. O. Kim, E. J. Park, J. Y. Ko, S. W. Son

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, various adverse skin reactions to long-term mask wearing have been reported. Aim: To assess the clinical features of mask-induced dermatoses and to recommend prevention and treatment options. Methods: From April to August 2020, questionnaires including topics such as demographic information, pre-existing skin disorders, reported mask-related symptoms, daily mask-wearing duration and frequency, types of masks used and whether the participant was a healthcare worker, were distributed to patients in 12 hospitals. Dermatologists assessed skin lesions, confirmed diagnosis and recorded treatments. Results: Itchiness was the most frequent symptom, mostly affecting the cheeks. The most common skin disease was new-onset contact dermatitis (33.94%), followed by new-onset acne (16.97%) and worsening of pre-existing acne (16.97%). Daily wearing of masks was significantly (P = 0.02) associated with new-onset contact dermatitis. More than half of patients with pre-existing skin problems experienced disease worsening while wearing masks. Longer duration of wearing (> 6 h/day, P = 0.04) and use of cotton masks (P < 0.001) significantly increased acne flare-up. Healthcare workers had a higher incidence of skin disease. Skin lesions were generally mild and well tolerated with topical treatment. The study had some limitations: the effect of seasonal characteristics and other risk factors were not assessed, and the patients were visiting dermatological clinics and had interest in their skin status, thus, there may have been selection bias. Conclusion: Mask-induced/-triggered dermatoses contribute to increase the dermatological burden during the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1504-1510
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Experimental Dermatology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 British Association of Dermatologists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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