Clinico-epidemiological study of mask induced acne due to increased mask use among health care workers during COVID pandemic in a tertiary care institute


  • Ramesh Aravamuthan Department of Dermatology, Madras Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Shabari Arumugam Department of Dermatology, Madras Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India



Acne, Mask induced acne, COVID-19, N95 mask


Background: Acne vulgaris is a self-limiting, multifactorial disorder affecting the sebaceous glands and pilosebaceous follicles. Regular wearing of mask during this COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased incidence of acne flare. The objective is to study the incidence and the clinic-epidemiological factors associated with mask induced acne.

Methods: This is a cross sectional web-based survey conducted at Madras medical college and Rajiv Gandhi government general hospital during August 2020. The clinic-epidemiological details were collected from the 215 post-graduates of Madras medical college and Rajiv Gandhi government general hospital in a pre-set questionnaire.

Results: Among 215 study participants, 134 (62.3%) reported mask induced acne. Female gender has a statistically significant association. Itching was the most common complaint. Cheeks, chin and bridge of the nose were the common site of lesions. Comedone and papules were the common presenting lesions. Premenstrual flare and psychological stress had a statistically significant association.

Conclusion: Mask induced acne has various factors like micro-climate theory, hydration of keratin, mechanical occlusion of pilosebaceous unit pores, seborrhoea, ambient high humidity due to sweating involved in its pathogenesis. Although wearing a mask is extremely important to our fight against COVID-19, the general public should be aware of proper and rational mask wearing.

Author Biography

Ramesh Aravamuthan, Department of Dermatology, Madras Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Professor of Dermatology


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Original Research Articles