Covid-19 hygiene measures are exacerbating skin flare-ups for people with psoriasis, research has suggested.
Fifty-one per cent of people with the skin condition said that wearing a face mask was aggravating their skin and 72% said regular handwashing had led to a flare-up or worsening of symptoms, according to a poll conducted for skin research and awareness body the Skin Life Sciences Foundation.
The surge in feelings of stress and anxiety during the pandemic had also exacerbated symptoms for 66% of people with the condition.
Asked about the areas affected by psoriasis, 55% said their hands; 38% the inside of their elbows; 35% the back of their knees; 29% on the face; and 24% on the scalp.
The survey of 1,000 people found that 17% suffered with psoriasis, but official NHS figures suggest the condition affects 2% of the population.
Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales, which can be itchy and sore.
The poll found that two-thirds of people with skin conditions such psoriasis had not consulted a doctor, and only 15% had seen a dermatologist.
“It would seem that pandemic living, with increased stress has meant that psoriasis symptoms have worsened,” said Dr Nisa Aslam from the Skin Life Sciences Foundation.
“Topical steroids are sometimes needed to control flare-ups, and while they cannot be used daily for prolonged periods, these medicines are invaluable for many people with skin conditions like psoriasis.”