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J Cosmet Dermatol. 2024 Feb 8. doi: 10.1111/jocd.16196. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a new normal, necessitating the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) like face shields, surgical masks, gloves, and goggles. However, prolonged mask-wearing introduced skin-related issues due to changes in the skin's microenvironment, including increased humidity and temperature, as well as pressure on the skin. These factors led to skin deformation, vascular issues, edema, and inflammation, resulting in discomfort and cosmetic concerns. Clinical reports quickly highlighted the consequences of long-term mask use, including increased cases of "maskne" (mask-related acne) or mask-wearing related disorders such as rosacea flare-ups, skin-barrier defects, itching, erythema, redness, hyperpigmentation, and lichenification. Some of these issues, like inflammation, oxidative stress, and poor wound healing, could be directly linked to acne-related disorders or skin hypoxia.

AIM: To address these problems, researchers turned to rutin, a well-known flavonoid with antioxidant, vasoactive, and anti-inflammatory properties. However, rutin's poor water solubility presented a challenge for cosmetic formulations. To overcome this limitation, a highly water-soluble form of rutin was developed, making it suitable for use at higher concentrations.

METHODS: In vitro and ex vivo tests were conducted, as well as an innovative clinical trial including volunteers wearing surgical masks for at least 2 h, to evaluate the biological activity of this soluble rutin on the main skin concerns associated with mask-wearing (inflammation, oxidative stress, skin repair, hyperpigmentation, and skin redness).

RESULTS: The in vitro results showed that the active ingredient significantly reduced oxidative stress, improved wound healing, and reduced inflammation. In dark skin explants, the active ingredient significantly reduced melanin content, indicating its lightening activity. This effect was confirmed in the clinical study, where brown spots decreased significantly after 4 days of application. Moreover, measurements on volunteers demonstrated a decrease in skin redness and vascularization after the active ingredient application, indicating inflammation and erythema reduction. Volunteers reported improved skin comfort.

CONCLUSION: In summary, the COVID-19 pandemic led to various skin issues associated with mask-wearing. A highly soluble form of rutin was developed, which effectively addressed these concerns by reducing inflammation, oxidative stress, and hyperpigmentation while promoting wound healing. This soluble rutin offers a promising solution for the rapid treatment of maskne-related disorders and other skin problems caused by prolonged mask use.

PMID:38332551 | DOI:10.1111/jocd.16196

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