5 skin issues linked to coronavirus identified by dermatologists

It seems that those contracting coronavirus could suffer with one of five common skincare issues, ranging from pustules and blisters, to flat or raised red bumps.

A study by Spanish researchers published in the British Journal of Dermatology identified five common skin manifestations in those suffering with Covid-19 – 1.) acral areas of erythema-oedema or pustules (pseudo-chilblain), 2.) other vesicular eruptions, 3.) urticarial lesions, 4.) other maculopapules, and 5.) livedo or necrosis.

According to the study, just under a fifth (19%) of cases presented with pseudo-chilblain symptoms, commonly found on the hands and feet, and were associated with younger patients, lasting for a mean of 12.7 days. Just under a third (32%) suffered from pain and 30% itching.

Other vesicular eruptions (i.e. small blisters) were seen in 9% of those studied, which were associated with middle-aged patients and lasting for a mean of 10.4 days. Itching was a common symptom with more than half (68%) of patients, the report found.

Urticarial lesions – commonly interpreted as nettle rash or wheals, which shows as pink or white raised areas of skin – were present in 19% of patients, and other maculopapules (small, flat and raised red bumps, usually discovered around hair follicles) in just under half (47%), which generally lasted for a shorter period of time – 6.8 mean days for urticarial and 8.6 for maculopapular. 

These were usually associated with more severe Covid-19 cases. This group had a 2% mortality in the sample, and 92% of patients experienced itching for utriculiform lesions and 57% for maculopapular.

Livedo or necrosis was only present in 6% of cases and associated with older patients with more severe diseases. However, skin manifestations associated with Covid-19 were more variable in this group, including transient livedo, with some patients not requiring hospitalisation.

More about the study

The study by the Spanish Academy of dermatology saw four dermatologists review images of unexplained skin eruptions in 120 patients with suspected or confirmed Covid-19, and then a consensus was reached.  

These patterns were then applied to the rest of the images, consisting of 375 patients, and further refined into five broader conditions, by which nearly all patients could be classified. 

“Some of the skin manifestations associated with Covid-19 are common and can have many causes, particularly maculopapules and urticarial lesions,” said one of the researchers. 

“As such, they may not be particularly helpful as an aide to diagnosis. Livedoid and necrotic lesions, on the other hand, are relatively uncommon, and mostly appeared in elderly and severe patients. However, it is hard to tell if they are directly caused by Covid-19, or simply indicate complications.”

What do you make of the study? Comment below. 

In other news, get to grips with treating rosacea successfully in your salon or spa with our guide.