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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 292-297

Effects of the face mask on the skin during the COVID-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia

1 Department of Dermatology, College of Medicine, Majmaah University, Al-Majmaah, Saudi Arabia
2 Medical Students, College of Medicine, Majmaah University, Al-Majmaah, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Salim Ali Algaadi
Department of Dermatology, College of Medicine, Majmaah University, Al-Majmaah 11952
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/aihb.aihb_64_22

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Introduction: The use of face mask in these COVID-19 times has increased manifolds. This has led to various skin problems due to the adverse reaction caused by the mask. This study aimed to observe the skin effects of the face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic among individuals in Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods: Cross-sectional study in different regions of Saudi Arabia with data collection was done using a self-administered online questionnaire in the adults above 18 years of age of both sexes. Results: The study involved 516 participants who were mostly young population with male predominance. In general, 37% of face skin reactions related to mask use, whereas 63% of participants did not notice any skin reaction from face mask wearing. Most of them wear surgical masks (85.5%), of which 36.7% of them reported adverse skin reactions (ASRs) related to surgical masks. Furthermore, using the mask for >4 h is approximately double the risk of skin changes, and a significant association has been found between the duration of mask use and ASRs. Finally, no significant association was observed between prolonged face mask use and aggravation of pre-existing skin diseases by face masks. Conclusion: The overall prevalence of skin reactions associated with face masks was 37%. The most frequent skin reaction was acne and itching symptoms, followed by acne alone. Regarding mask type, both surgical and cloth masks were associated with a significantly high incidence of ASRs, which was statistically significant.

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