Covid19 Related Skin Concerns
The COVID pandemic has brought many changes to our world and our behavior. Some of these adjustments have brought on unwanted skin conditions. I will cover two of these that are the most common that we see: Maskne, and hand dermatitis. I will not discuss here skin signs of active COVID diseases such as COVID toes.
Maskne is short for mask acne! Yes, we are seeing more acne and rosacea from the wearing of masks. This does not suggest that we stop this life-saving behavior. Patients are coming in with crops of red bumps and pustules on the chin, upper lip, and nose. This is likely a result of the hot and humid environment created by breathing into the mask for long periods, most commonly seen in workers who need to wear the mask for a longer duration than the intermittent use in the grocery store or other outings. Treatment includes more frequent washing of the face to attempt to dry out the increasingly oily area under the mask. The use of OTC benzoyl peroxide gels can help to settle the acne also.
Hand dryness which can lead to skin cracking and itchy eczema is being seen more because of increased hand washing to avoid spreading or contracting COVID19. We typically see this in the flu season of the winter here in Minnesota but are now seeing it in the summer and fall. Recommendations are to avoid soap and water and switch to alcohol-based hand sanitizers which are very effective at killing the virus. Repeated exposure to water followed by air drying causes more hand eczema than the alcohol-based cleansers. If you prefer hand washing, then make sure that every time you wash your hands you moisturize with a heavy hand moisturizer such as Neutrogena Hand Cream or Vaniply ointment, or Aquaphor ointment.
The vaccine is on the way! Hang on a while longer --wear the mask and wash or cleanse your hands with the above tips.
Lee, Frank. “Coronavirus Cause for Concern, Cancellations in Crow Wing County.” Brainerd Dispatch, Brainerd Dispatch, 13 Mar. 2020, www.brainerddispatch.com/lifestyle/health/4996980-Coronavirus-cause-for-concern-cancellations-in-Crow-Wing-County.