Face Mask-induced Itch: A Self-questionnaire Study of 2,315 Responders During the COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Jacek C. Szepietowski
  • Łukasz Matusiak
  • Marta Szepietowska
  • Piotr K. Krajewski
  • Rafał Białynicki-Birula




itch, COVID-19, face mask


Little is known about itch related to the use of face masks. This internet survey study investigated the prevalence, intensity and clinical characteristics of itch related to the use of face masks by the general public during the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 2,315 replies were received, of which 2,307 were included in the final analysis. Of the respondents, 1,393 (60.4%) reported using face masks during the previous week, and, of these, 273 (19.6%) participants reported having itch. Subjects who reported sensitive skin and atopic predisposition, and those with facial dermatoses (acne, atopic dermatitis or seborrhoeic dermatitis) were at significantly higher risk of itch development. The high­est rating of itch for the whole group on the Itch Numeral Rating Scale was 4.07 ± 2.06 (itch of moderate intensity). Responders who wore masks for longer periods more frequently reported itch. Almost 30% of itchy subjects reported scratching their face without removing the mask, or after removing the mask and then scratching. Wearing face masks is linked to development of itch, and scratching can lead to incorrect use of face masks, resulting in reduced protection. 


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How to Cite

Szepietowski, J. C., Matusiak, Łukasz, Szepietowska, M., Krajewski, P. K., & Białynicki-Birula, R. (2020). Face Mask-induced Itch: A Self-questionnaire Study of 2,315 Responders During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 100(10), 1–5. https://doi.org/10.2340/00015555-3536




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