Healthcare Workers Losing Skin Health & Hair In Fight Agains
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Doctors and nurses, working in ICUs and wards for long hours clad in stifling PPE kits and N-95 masks, are losing their hair literally. The life-saving face shields, hand gloves and masks have become a source of skin disease and poor hair health as wearing them hours on end is leaving medical personnel grappling with rashes, acne and skin pigmentation.

A survey carried out by the dermatology and venereal diseases (DVD) department of the BJ Medical College revealed that seven out of 10 healthcare workers faced one or other dermatological issue over the past nine months which required treatment.

Dr Krina Patel, head of the DVD department at BJ, said 600-plus respondents were surveyed of which over 66% were healthcare workers. The data showed that the prolonged use of masks caused acne, we have coined the term ‘mask-ne’ for the phenomenon. Its severity was more in the healthcare workers at 80% as the N-95 prevents air circulation, resulting in accumulation of oily secretion and moisture from breath.

Dr Anshul Warman, a city-based dermatologist, said, Prolonged use of masks has resulted in bacterial infection in several patients. Skin rashes, contact dermatitis around the areas of the strap, itching are also common complaints. Those wearing face shields and protective gears have also reported hair loss in some cases due to constant pressure and friction.

We recommend use of skin protecting ointments and powder for various areas of the body. Use of cotton clothes below PPE kits have also worked well. Make sure the mask is clean and is not used again. Take short breaks to allow skin to breath normally, said Dr Hemant Saraiya, a city-based plastic surgeon.

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