Cutaneous adverse effects due to personal protective measures during COVID-19 pandemic: a study of 101 patients

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID‐19) is a viral illness caused by the novel coronavirus SARS‐CoV‐2 which spreads via droplets from an infected person. There has been an unprecedented rise in the use of personal protective equipment and practice of personal hygiene measures against COVID‐19. The extended use of protective measures (PM) can lead to ill effects on the skin. Our aim was to investigate PM‐induced dermatoses amongst healthcare workers and the general population during the COVID‐19 pandemic.


A cross‐sectional study was conducted over a period of 2 months. The study subjects were patients who presented to dermatology outpatient clinics or sought teleconsultation for skin problems related to the use of PMs against COVID‐19. A detailed history was obtained and cutaneous examination was documented for all the patients in a pre‐set proforma. Diagnoses of the adverse skin effects were formulated based upon history and clinical examination.


A total of 101 cases with cutaneous adverse effects due to the use of PMs against COVID‐19 were included in the study. The general population and healthcare workers were affected similarly, comprising of 54.5% and 45.5%, respectively. The mean age of the study participants was 36.71 ± 15.72 years. The most common culprit material was soap and water (56.4%). Contact dermatitis was found to be the most common adverse effect in the majority of our patients (72.3%). The most common symptom reported was pruritus (45.5%). The wearing of personal protective equipment for a longer duration was significantly associated with multiple symptoms (P = 0.026).


The enhanced use of different PMs against COVID‐19 can result in a variety of adverse skin effects. In our study, the use of soap and water was the most common culprit PM, and contact dermatitis was the most common adverse effect noted.

View the full article @ International journal of dermatology

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