Cutaneous Manifestations of COVID-19: A Systematic Review

Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). 2021 Feb;10(2):51-80. doi: 10.1089/wound.2020.1309. Epub 2020 Oct 19.


Objective: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is currently a pandemic. Although pulmonary health has been the primary focus of studies during the early days of COVID-19, development of a comprehensive understanding of this emergent disease requires knowledge of all possible disease manifestations in affected patients. This Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA)-compliant review focuses on cutaneous manifestations reported in COVID-19 patients. Approach: Literature review was conducted using the PubMed database to examine various cutaneous manifestations related to the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Published articles (n = 56) related to search criteria from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to June 30, 2020, were included. The primary literature articles included in this study were mainly from France, Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Results: Unique to many other symptoms of COVID-19, its cutaneous manifestations have been found in people of all age groups, including children. The cutaneous manifestations of COVID-19 are varied and include maculopapular, chilblain-like, urticarial, vesicular, livedoid, and petechial lesions. In addition, rashes are common in multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a new and serious health condition that shares symptoms with Kawasaki disease and is likely related to COVID-19. In addition, personal protective equipment-related skin wounds are of serious concern since broken cutaneous barriers can create an opening for potential COVID-19 infections. Innovation and Conclusion: As this virus continues to spread silently, mainly through asymptomatic carriers, an accurate and rapid identification of these cutaneous manifestations may be vital to early diagnosis and lead to possible better prognosis in COVID-19 patients. This systematic review and photo atlas provide a detailed analysis of the skin pathologies related to COVID-19. Study of these cutaneous manifestations and their pathogenesis, as well their significance in human health will help define COVID-19 in its entirety, which is a prerequisite to its effective management.

Keywords: COVID-19; MIS-C; chilblain-like; maculopapular; skin lesions; wound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / complications
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / physiopathology
  • COVID-19* / therapy
  • Disease Management
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2 / isolation & purification*
  • Skin Diseases* / classification
  • Skin Diseases* / etiology
  • Skin Diseases* / therapy
  • Skin Diseases* / virology
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome* / physiopathology
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome* / therapy

Supplementary concepts

  • pediatric multisystem inflammatory disease, COVID-19 related