COVID-19 related masks increase severity of both acne (maskne) and rosacea (mask rosacea): Multi-center, real-life, telemedical, and observational prospective study

Dermatol Ther. 2021 Mar;34(2):e14848. doi: 10.1111/dth.14848. Epub 2021 Feb 19.


Masks are essential for COVID-19 prevention, but recently they were suggested to modify cutaneous facial microenvironment and trigger facial dermatoses. To evaluate mask-related rosacea and acne (maskne) in untreated patients during lockdown. In this multi-center, real-life, observational prospective study, we enrolled stable, untreated acne and rosacea patients that wore masks during lockdown at least 6 h/day. They underwent two teledermatological consultations, at the baseline and after 6 weeks. Clinical, pharmacological, and psychological data were recorded. A total 66 patients, 30 (median age: 34.0 [30.25-29.75] yoa) with acne and 36 patients (median age: 48 [43-54] years) with rosacea, were enrolled in this study. After 6 weeks of mask and quarantine, patients with acne displayed an increased Global Acne Grading Scale (GAGS) score in mask-related areas (P < .0001). Likewise, after 6 weeks of mask and quarantine, patients with rosacea displayed a worsen in both physican (P < .0001) and patient (P < .0001) reported outcomes. Remarkably, patients reported also a statistically significant decrease in their quality of life (P < .0001). Masks appear to trigger both acne and rosacea flares. Additional studies are needed to generate evidence and inform clinical decision-making.

Keywords: COVID-19; acne due to masks; mask rosacea; maskne; pandemics; rosacea due to masks.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris* / diagnosis
  • Adult
  • COVID-19*
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Humans
  • Masks
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Rosacea* / diagnosis
  • SARS-CoV-2