Intended for healthcare professionals
Clinical review

COVID-19 and the skin: a focused review

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has had a devastating impact on morbidity and mortality worldwide. Cutaneous manifestations of COVID-19 are varied, and include exanthema (varicella-like papulo-vesicular and morbilliform eruptions), vascular lesions (chilblain-like, purpuric/petechial and livedoid lesions), urticarial eruptions and acropapular lesions. 

Studies have also shown that COVID-19 can exacerbate pre-existing dermatological diseases such as psoriasis, acne, rosacea, atopic dermatitis and seborrhoeic dermatitis.

This article reviews the clinical considerations relating to COVID-19 and the skin, including the diagnosis and management of cutaneous manifestations of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and the care of dermatology patients in relation to their pre-existing skin condition.

The article covers key points such as:

  • The cutaneous manifestations of COVID-19
  • Whether pre-existing skin diseases can be exacerbated by COVID-19
  • The implications for dermatological treatments, including immunosuppressants, during the pandemic
  • How dermatologists can help in the diagnosis of COVID-19
  • What reliable sources of information about COVID-19 and the skin are currently available.
  • What international registries collect clinical information on patients with COVID-19 and dermatological pathologies
  • Whether guidelines around COVID-19 vaccination in patients with skin disease are currently available


The authors note that 'Safe, evidence-based dermatological care can assist in the effort against COVID-19, particularly when clinicians work collaboratively in an interdisciplinary manner with other clinical specialties to provide holistic patient care'.


Dermatology in practice 2021; 27(1): 4–6
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