GeneralORIGINAL ARTICLE

Mask-related skin changes among healthcare workers in a community-based hospital

Brittany Valk, DO; Nedyalko N. Ivanov, DO; Amanda Nahhas, DO; Katie Corwin, DO; Katrina Hansen, DO; Jeff Globerson, DO; Annette LaCasse, DO; William Corser, PhD; and Lynn Sikorski, DO
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: May 10, 2022

Accepted: August 4, 2022

Published: August 29, 2022

  • Brittany Valk, DO, 

    Beaumont Health Systems – Department of Dermatology, Farmington Hills Campus, Farmington Hills, MI, USA

  • Nedyalko N. Ivanov, DO, 

    Beaumont Health Systems – Department of Dermatology, Farmington Hills Campus, Farmington Hills, MI, USA

  • Amanda Nahhas, DO, 

    Beaumont Health Systems – Department of Dermatology, Farmington Hills Campus, Farmington Hills, MI, USA

  • Katie Corwin, DO, 

    Beaumont Health Systems – Department of Dermatology, Farmington Hills Campus, Farmington Hills, MI, USA

  • Katrina Hansen, DO, 

    Beaumont Health Systems – Department of Dermatology, Farmington Hills Campus, Farmington Hills, MI, USA

  • Jeff Globerson, DO, 

    Beaumont Health Systems – Department of Dermatology, Farmington Hills Campus, Farmington Hills, MI, USA

  • Annette LaCasse, DO, 

    Beaumont Health Systems – Department of Dermatology, Farmington Hills Campus, Farmington Hills, MI, USA

  • William Corser, PhD, 

    Michigan State University Statewide Campus System, East Lansing, MI, USA

  • Lynn Sikorski, DO, 

    Beaumont Health Systems – Department of Dermatology, Farmington Hills Campus, Farmington Hills, MI, USA

Abstract

Context: During the COVID-19 pandemic, dermatologists within the Beaumont Farmington Hills’ Dermatology program noticed an increase in conditions associated with mask wearing, such as “maskne” (acne in a mask distribution, thought to be caused by mask wearing), as well as worsening of previously diagnosed dermatologic conditions.

Objectives: The goal of our study was to explore various factors that impacted mask-related skin changes and how these skin changes affected quality of life.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed. The primary 10-item survey instrument administered was the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI). Respondents were asked a series of 10 additional questions concerning the degree to which abnormal mask-related skin conditions affect their skin symptoms, possible embarrassment/self-consciousness, and perceived impact of mask-related skin changes. A series of descriptive statistics, cross-tabulation charts, and graphical examinations of data was utilized to evaluate sample subgroup and outcome distributional patterns. Pearson r bivariate correlation coefficients between possible collinear predictive measures on the primary study outcome were calculated. A series of simple inferential chi-squared (Χ2) tests of independence were also conducted.

Results: A total of 370 out of 430 (86.0%) Beaumont Health employees noticed some degree of skin changes since the work-hours face mask requirement was instituted, while 378 out of 430 (87.9%) felt that their skin was better when not wearing a mask. The majority of respondents, 283 (65.8%), reported having at least a little symptomatic skin (i.e., itchy, painful, sore, stinging) during the prior week. Furthermore, 72.3% reported that they were at least a little embarrassed or self-conscious of their skin. Chi-squared analysis of composite DLQI score categories by the number of types of masks utilized (Pearson X2=19.0, df=8, p=0.015), and some degree of symptomatic skin (Pearson X2=156.4, df=4, p<0.001) were found to be statistically significant.

Conclusions: A large number of healthcare workers are affected by mask-related skin changes. Further research should be directed at better understanding how skin changes associated with mask wearing impact one’s quality of life and mental health.

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