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Covid19: Top scientist admits masks trigger acne and dermatitis


The Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) experts warned against making face masks compulsory in offices - something which many leading experts have been calling for.

SAGE said the risk of masks becoming contaminated increased the longer a person wore it in a confined space, which would have the opposite of the desired effect. They said this could even lead to acne and eczema.


The SAGE report, which has not been dated, is thought to have been compiled in the last few months, based on its language about a winter wave of the virus.

The British Medical Association (BMA) has for months been calling for coverings to be compulsory in all work settings.   

But SAGE said: 'Contamination of face coverings is likely to increase with duration of wearing and therefore the risk of transmission via touching or surface contamination from more heavily contaminated face coverings could increase with time.

'There is some evidence that extended duration wearing of face masks and face coverings can result in skin conditions such as acne or dermatitis for some people, but there is no data on the frequency or severity of this concern. 

'Issues of tolerability and minor adverse effects (e.g. thermal discomfort, minor skin irritation, glasses steaming) are likely to be the main limiting factors for duration of wearing of face coverings, and need to be factored into guidance on duration of use and likely adherence with advice.'