Galderma online survey reveals essential COVID-19 mask wearing can be worsening rosacea skin disease

Galderma online survey reveals essential COVID-19 mask wearing can be worsening rosacea skin disease

- 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.1

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%).1

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.2

Despite worsening of symptoms, over 1 in 2 (52%) people surveyed* admitted using mask 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.1

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.1          

*Based on a self-administered survey of and email subscribers during December 2020January 2021. 87% of whom state that they have a rosacea diagnosis from a healthcare provider. 13% believe that they have rosacea but are not yet diagnosed


1.  Data on file. Online survey of and subscribers (220 respondents from Canada and Germany)

2.  Damiani G, et al. Dermatol Ther. 2021 Feb. DOI: 10.1111/dth.14848. [Epub ahead of print].

About rosacea

Rosacea is a common inflammatory skin disease that presents variable clinical characteristics, of which the most common are flushing, persistent erythema, and inflammatory lesions. It mainly affects the central areas of the face, such as the cheeks and nose. The disease can affect both adult men and women, usually after the age of 30. Additionally, symptoms such as stinging, burning and increased sensitivity of the skin are common. The eyes are often affected, and might present as red, dry or itchy.

Although the cause of the disease is still under debate, various trigger factors are known, including spicy foods, alcohol, emotional stress, sun/UV-exposure, hot baths and beverages. Demodex, generally harmless mites, can also be found in the skin in an elevated quantity in people with rosacea.

Rosacea may worsen over time if left untreated. People that suspect they suffer from rosacea should visit their dermatologist or healthcare provider for diagnosis and discuss what treatment is right for them. Because rosacea is a highly visible disease, it is known to cause embarrassment and anxiety in some patients, which in turn may cause frustration and have a negative impact on their social life.

About Galderma

Galderma, the world's largest independent global dermatology company, was created in 1981 and is now present in over 100 countries with an extensive product portfolio of prescription medicines, aesthetic solutions and consumer care products. The company partners with health care practitioners around the world to meet the skin health needs of people throughout their lifetime. Galderma is a leader in research and development of scientifically-defined and medically-proven solutions for the skin. For more information, please visit

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