The appearance of allergies or worsening of skin problems such as irritative hand eczema or acne, rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis on the face are some of the effects of repeated use of hydroalcoholic gels and mask, some problems that have increased appointments in dermatological consultations.
This has been indicated to the EFE Agency by Enrique Gimeno, president of the Valencian section of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Veneorology (AEDV), and Carlos Guillem, head of Dermatology at the Valencian Institute of Oncology (IVO), who have stressed that these problems do not justify stopping using this protection against coronavirus, as they are usually minor injuries that can be “treated, improved and safely fought”.
Dermatological problems get worse
“We have detected that with the repeated, and sometimes excessive use, of hydroalcoholic gels and the frequent washing of the hands arencreasing secondary irritative eczema, especially in patients with previous pathologies such as atopic eczema “, he indicates.
According to Gimeno, the same is happening with masks, whose use is leading to aggravate pre-existing pathologies such as acne, in what has been called since the beginning of the pandemic ‘camouflage‘(mask + acne) and seborrheic eczema.
In this sense, Guillem, who directs the Valencian Institute of Dermatology and Aesthetics (IVADE), points out that also Cases have been described in which rubbing and contact with certain substances of masks, disinfectant type, “can cause allergies.”
These are mostly mild dermatological problems, but the continued use of masks -something inevitable at the moment- “what it does is worsen that previous pathology or trigger it in people who have some susceptibility to acne, rosacea, and seborrheic eczema on the face. ”
According to experts, in the case of the mask, problems occur due to occlusion, poor ventilation and the humidity that comes from wearing it for so long.
It recognizes that the treatment of these skin problems is complicated by having to wear these protective measures against covid-19 for a while.
In fact, against acne or rosacea, only topical treatments could have been applied but as these problems worsen in some cases “we are forced to give a oral antibiotic treatment“, according to Gimeno.
In the case of hand eczema, he recommends that “after washing them they dry them very well, apply moisturizers several times a day and try, as far as possible, limit the use of gels beyond 10 times a day“.
“The impact of these anticovid measures must be minimized in some way and, on the other hand, the treatment of processes that could have been maintained with less intense therapies should be intensified,” he says.
In the case of acne, he explains, there have been cases in which isotretinoin has been prescribed, a drug used mostly for severe or cystic acne that might not have been prescribed had it not been aggravated by the mask. In the opinion of Carlos Guillem, the vast majority are mild cases that can be “treated, improved and safely combated.”
More problems in women
According to the president of the Valencian society of the AEDV, dermatological problems on the face occur more in women than in menwhile hand eczema is observed almost equally in both sexes.
In the case of women, she explains that by covering a large part of the face with the mask, many of them are limiting the use of makeup, products “that also worsen these pathologies.” “Makeup compounds these problems because covers the pore and facilitates its occlusion and that new outbreaks start, both acne and rosacea. ”
In the same way, Carlos Guillem thinks, who advises against the use of both makeup and sunscreen, both because of the time of year we are in and because the mask covers a large part of the face and some products may contain somewhat greasy excipients.
Proliferation of bacteria
The mask also facilitates proliferation of bacteria when having a humid environment, which also contributes to the triggering of these outbreaks. In the case of seborrheic eczema, explains Gimeno, there is a population of a saprophytic fungus on the face that with occlusion and humidity “increases more than necessary and triggers outbreaks.”
And he points out that the consequences of the use of masks “they are worse” in oily skin than in the dry. “What the mask does is increase the moisture of the face, and with dry skin it does not harm as much as it does fat,” he says.
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