Cutaneous signs in COVID-19 patients: A review

Dermatol Ther. 2020 Sep;33(5):e13549. doi: 10.1111/dth.13549. Epub 2020 May 29.


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) primarily affects the epithelium of the airways. With the increasing involvement of dermatologist in management of this crisis, cutaneous symptoms gained more and more attention. In this review, we will describe cutaneous symptoms of patients of all ages in association with COVID-19. We will focus on such disorders that are caused by direct action of SARS-CoV-2 on tissues, complement, and coagulation system and on nonspecific eruption of the systemic viral infection. Drug-induced reactions are only mentioned in the differential diagnoses. Although more systematic investigations are warranted, it becomes clear that some symptoms are clinical signs of a milder COVID-19 course, while others are a red flag for a more severe course. Knowledge of the cutaneous manifestations of COVID-19 may help in early diagnosis, triage of patients, and risk stratification.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; acro-ischemia; androgenetic alopecia; chilblain-like eruptions; maculopapular rash; purpuric rash; urticaria.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia / diagnosis
  • COVID-19 / complications*
  • Chilblains / diagnosis
  • Exanthema / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / diagnosis
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Skin Diseases / diagnosis*

Supplementary concepts

  • Chilblain lupus 1