The COVID-19 pandemic has led to enhanced hygiene procedures and use of personal protective equipment, but also to increased attention to occupational skin disease in healthcare workers. The occurrence of hand and facial skin disease in > 5,000 Swedish healthcare workers was investigated in a questionnaire survey. Levels of skin exposure related to hygiene procedures and personal protective equipment were recorded. Caring for patients with COVID-19 entailed higher levels of wet work and face mask exposures, and was associated with higher 1-year prevalence of both hand eczema (36%) and facial skin disease (32%) compared with not being directly engaged in COVID-19 care (28% and 22%, respectively). Acne and eczema were the most common facial skin diseases; for both, a dose-dependent association with face mask use was found. Dose-dependent associations could be shown between hand eczema and exposure to soap and gloves, but not to alcohol-based hand disinfectants.
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; epidemiology; facial dermatoses; hand dermatoses; health personnel; occupational dermatitis.