Impact of prolonged wearing of face masks – medical and forensic implications




COVID-19 pandemic, face masks, health effects, forensic implications


Since December 2019, the global outbreak of coronavirus disease had a significant impact on humanity. Because of the large number of casualties worldwide, the WHO (World Health Organization) declared the coronavirus disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 a pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic, facial masks have become essential as well as mandatory to protect ourselves from COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, healthcare professionals (HCPs) have been required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) for extended periods. Wearing face masks for an extended period has been shown to have several negative effects on HCPs. Additionally, face masks have hampered the use of digital techniques for facial identification. This paper examines the effects of wearing face masks for an extended period, as well as the effect of wearing face masks on facial identification technology. The Web of Science, PubMed, and Scopus databases were searched and screened for relevant studies. According to the current review, prolonged use of masks was found to be associated with adverse effects on the face and skin, including acne, redness, rashes, and itching. The use of masks also resulted in headaches, hypoxic conditions, and changes in voice and speech parameters. This communication in no way intends to advocate the discontinuation of wearing masks, on the contrary, the primary goal of this article is to spread awareness about the adverse effects associated with prolonged use of facial masks (N95, KF94, or surgical). This will help in increasing compliance with mask mandates by helping to develop preventive solutions to the problems that tend to deter the general public. This also demonstrates how the use of masks has become a challenge for facial recognition technologies.

Author Biographies

Ankita Guleria, Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Sector-14, Chandigarh, India

Ankita Guleria, MSc // Research Scholar and INSPIRE fellow

Kewal Krishan, Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Sector-14, Chandigarh, India

Dr. Kewal Krishan is a renowned forensic anthropologist and presently serving as Associate Professor and former Chairperson at the Department of Anthropology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. He passed his BSc (Hons.), MSc (Hons.), and Ph.D. from Panjab University, India. He is well known for his contributions to forensic and biological anthropology in Indian populations. He published more than 221 articles in international and national journals of repute including high impact and reputed journals such as Nature, Nature Medicine, and The Lancet. Dr. Krishan has contributed to the advancement of Forensic Science and its applications in Indian populations. He has devised many methods of criminal investigation and formulae to be used in the criminal investigation process.

He contributed invited chapters to the most coveted Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences (2013), Encyclopedia of Forensic and Legal Medicine (2016) published by Elsevier and Encyclopedia of Archaeological Sciences (2018) published by Wiley-Blackwell. He is the Editor and on the panel of editors of various reputed international forensic journals such as Forensic Science International, Medicine Science and the Law, Archives of Public Health etc. He has been awarded the fellowship of the Royal Anthropological Institute (FRAI) of Great Britain and Ireland, London for his contributions to forensic anthropology in India.

His research has been cited by more than 8500 studies in the scientific literature.

His Wikipedia profile is available at:

His interests include Forensics, Human biology, Biological anthropology, Human morphology, Anthropometry, Forensic podiatry, Publication ethics, Malnutrition and anthropological aspects of Public Health

Vishal Sharma, Institute of Forensic Science and Criminology, Panjab University, Sector-14, Chandigarh, India

Dr Vishal Sharma, PhD // Chairperson and Assistant Professor

Tanuj Kanchan, Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur, India

Dr Tanuj Kanchan, MD, DFM // Professsor and Head




How to Cite

Guleria A, Krishan K, Sharma V, Kanchan T (2022) Impact of prolonged wearing of face masks – medical and forensic implications. J Infect Dev Ctries 16:1578–1587. doi: 10.3855/jidc.16618



Coronavirus Pandemic