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Surgical face masks

– Although essential for public health, new online survey findings show that people with self-reported rosacea may be experiencing worsening of symptoms due to mask wearing, further increasing the daily burden for people living with this chronic skin disease

– Despite worsening of signs and symptoms, only a third (33%) of respondents have visited a healthcare provider (HCP) in person since the pandemic began

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Feb. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The COVID-19 pandemic has made mask wearing commonplace in many parts of the world, but for those suffering with facial skin disease, this can bring additional challenges. A recent survey conducted by Galderma suggests that the pandemic may impact rosacea patients, from worsening of signs and symptoms related to mask wearing, to reduced HCP consultations.

Although essential for public health, findings from the new online survey involving 220 respondents from Canada and Germany reveal that almost two thirds (63%) are experiencing worsening of their symptoms related to mask wearing, including redness (75%), pimples and/or pustules (72%) and more flare-ups (53%).

A recent independent clinical study in Italy, investigating the impact of mask wearing in rosacea and acne vulgaris patients, also found that prolonged use of face masks increases disease severity and significantly impacts the quality of life of rosacea and acne patients.

Despite worsening of symptoms, over 1 in 2 (52%) people surveyed admitted using masks wearing as a way to hide their disease, and 40% are not going out as often in order to avoid wearing a mask. The survey also revealed that almost a third (30%) are spending more time on their skincare routine during the pandemic.

Additionally, nearly half (48%) have changed how they manage their disease since mask wearing, with 51% trying a non-prescription product and only 27% having been prescribed a new treatment by a HCP.

Aliene Noda, Global Medical Franchise Lead Rosacea and Onco-Dermatology Prescription GBU, Galderma, comments on these findings: “With just a third of rosacea sufferers surveyed booking an appointment with their HCP during the pandemic, there is a huge cause for concern. Our survey suggests that more patients may be self-treating which could mean they are using products that are not specifically tailored for their skin disease and this could, ultimately, do more harm than good.”

Prof. Dr Jerry Tan, Adjunct Professor, Western University, Ontario, Canada, says: “During the current pandemic, self-medication and inadequate use of prescribed rosacea treatments are concerning. Many rosacea sufferers are hiding their rosacea under a mask to reduce embarrassment. This could however also be worsening their rosacea. If you are suffering from rosacea, do not be afraid to book an appointment with your HCP via phone, video or in-person if possible. It is important to adhere to prescribed treatments and seek professional support if you are experiencing worsening of signs and symptoms because of mask wearing.”

The survey shows that only a third (33%) of respondents have visited their HCP in person since the pandemic began, with only 8% having a video consultation. Of those who have not booked an appointment, 47% stated they have not wanted to book an appointment, whilst 21% have been unable to book one.

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