Cutaneous manifestations of COVID-19: Report of three cases and a review of literature

J Dermatol Sci. 2020 May;98(2):75-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2020.04.011. Epub 2020 Apr 29.


Background: Various cutaneous manifestations have been observed in patients with COVID-19 infection. However, overall similarities in the clinical presentation of these dermatological manifestations have not yet been summarized.

Objective: This review aims to provide an overview of various cutaneous manifestations in patients with COVID-19 through three case reports and a literature review.

Methods: A literature search was conducted using PubMed, OVID, and Google search engines for original and review articles. Studies written in the English language that mentioned cutaneous symptoms and COVID-19 were included.

Results: Eighteen articles and three additional cases reported in this paper were included in this review. Of these studies, 6 are case series and 12 are case report studies. The most common cutaneous manifestation of COVID-19 was found to be maculopapular exanthem (morbilliform), presenting in 36.1% (26/72) patients. The other cutaneous manifestations included: a papulovesicular rash (34.7%, 25/72), urticaria (9.7%, 7/72), painful acral red purple papules (15.3%, 11/72) of patients, livedo reticularis lesions (2.8%, 2/72) and petechiae (1.4%, 1/72). Majority of lesions were localized on the trunk (66.7%, 50/72), however, 19.4% (14/72) of patients experienced cutaneous manifestations in the hands and feet. Skin lesion development occurred before the onset of respiratory symptoms or COVID-19 diagnosis in 12.5% (9/72) of the patients, and lesions spontaneously healed in all patients within 10 days. Majority of the studies reported no correlation between COVID-19 severity and skin lesions.

Conclusion: Infection with COVID-19 may result in dermatological manifestations with various clinical presentations, which may aid in the timely diagnosis of this infection.

Keywords: COVID-19; Cutaneous manifestations; Review; Skin.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin / virology*
  • Skin Diseases, Viral / diagnosis
  • Skin Diseases, Viral / therapy
  • Skin Diseases, Viral / virology*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents