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.