Dermatologists across the globe are noticing an increasing number of patients experiencing unexpected skin disorders since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“Together with our social, occupational, and personal life, the new corona virus poses novel challenges for all physicians, including dermatologists,” an abstract and article from the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health warns.
“Despite the virus not being dermatotropic, several skin conditions have emerged, mainly as a result of prolonged contact to personal protective equipment and excessive personal hygiene,” the report reveals. “Pressure injury, contact dermatitis, itch, pressure urticaria, and exacerbation of pre-existing skin diseases, including seborrheic dermatitis and acne, have been described.”
The skin complications in COVID-19 infection are mainly due to the hyper-hydration effect of Personal Pprotective Eequipment (PPE).
For instance the excessive and out of ordinary use of eye protection goggles and masks is causing friction, epidermal barrier breakdowns, “and contact reactions, all of which may aggravate an existing skin disease.”
These skin manifestations “are far different from those recorded during the Influenza Epidemic of 1918–1919.”
⚫Erythema, papules, maceration, and scaling are the most commonly reported skin changes due to extended wear of PPE.
⚫Symptoms have included burning, itching, and stinging.
⚫Such findings have been attributed to the use of PPE in 97% of 542 frontline healthcare workers (HCWs).
⚫The most commonly affected skin sites were the nasal bridge (83% due to the use of protective goggles but not the hygiene mask, cheeks, forehead, and hands.
⚫The prolonged contact with masks and goggles may cause a variety of “cutaneous diseases ranging from contact and pressure urticaria or contact dermatitis to aggravation of pre-existing dermatides.”
⚫A previous study found out that more than 1/3 of health care workers complained of acne, facial itching, and even dermatitis from wearing a N95 mask.
⚫Protective hats and the “accompanying occlusions may induce pruritus and folliculitis or exacerbate seborrheic dermatitis.”
⚫Long-term use of protective gloves leads to “occlusion and a hyper-hydration state of the epidermis clinically observable as maceration and erosions,possibly leading to the development of contact dermatitis.”
⚫”Exaggerated hand washing with detergents/ disinfectants can impair the hydro-lipid mantle of the skin surface and may also be responsible for irritation and even the development of contact dermatitis.”
Two-thirds of health care workers will wash their hands over 10 times a day, but only 22% are applying skin protective cream, the study discovered.