As the coronavirus epidemic continues, researchers, scientists, and even dermatologists are discovering that skin rashes might be a symptom of COVID-19. In recent news, COVID-19 patients might initially present symptoms of skin manifestations or rashes, so we asked our Chief Dermatology Resident Andrew Newman, DO to share more about the potential skin commonalities of people who have tested positive for the virus.

The COVID-19 Rash

Can Coronavirus (COVID-19) cause skin rashes? Healthcare workers and scientists are beginning to understand how COVID-19 affects our bodies. According to Italian researchers in a recent publication in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology Venereology, about 1 out of 5 people infected with COVID-19 will have a rash. Dr. Newman shares more on how the rash presents itself on the skin,

“The COVID-19 rash varies from person to person. Some people may experience a viral exanthem (small red spots) while others may have hives or chickenpox-like blisters. The viral rash mostly involves the chest, abdomen, and back, but it may also be seen on the arms and legs. The rash is typically seen at the start of the viral infection.”

Dr. Pimple Popper, aka dermatologist Sandra Lee, MD, also shares her insights on the COVID-19 skin rash in this article by Popsugar and her YouTube channel.

“Around 20 percent of people, we’ve noticed, are experiencing these skin rashes, these skin findings associated with COVID,” said Dr. Lee. “They are even finding that they’re associated with people who are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t have any other symptoms but they end up testing positive, and this was their presentation, or this was their initial presentation before they got really sick. That can mean that you’re an asymptomatic carrier, and they’re finding that in young people. It doesn’t happen in everybody, but this is a sign, and it’s useful for nurses and physicians.”

If you become concerned with a new rash, then it is important to have a dermatologist evaluate your skin. Importantly, individuals that are severely ill should be evaluated by your nearby urgent care.

COVID-19 and Skin Cancer

Those living with skin cancer may be considered higher-risk when it comes to coronavirus, so it’s important to maintain your regular skin cancer screenings and stay in touch with your dermatologist about your treatment plan. We also recommend that our skin cancer patients keep up-to-date with CDC advice including washing your hands regularly and practice social distancing by avoiding large crowds. While the world has stopped for the COVID-19 pandemic, life-threatening skin cancers have not stopped! Dr. Newman says,

“Trust me, I wish skin cancers would cut us some slack during the pandemic, but they are not. Does COVID-19 cause skin cancer? Nope, certainly not, but the sun does! We are getting a lot more sun during the COVID-19 lockdown. During this pandemic, I’m seeing families taking hikes and biking outdoors more than ever before! And this is a great thing, as long as you’re protecting yourself from skin cancer.”

The sun is shining and you might be finding yourself looking for ways to enjoy the great outdoors that Arizona has to offer. If you’re opting for some outdoor activities this month, check out this guide our dermatologists put together to stay safe while enjoying the sun. Dr. Newman shares his best tips on sun safety too,

“A mineral sunscreen and protective clothing like hats and sunglasses are very important to have on your family walks. Lastly, please check your skin for new or changing spots and see your dermatologist for a thorough skin check.”

If you have skin cancer, or you are recovering from your procedure, please reach out if you have any concerns or questions regarding COVID-19 and your treatment. As always, we are here for you! If you need to schedule an appointment for your annual skin exam, our medical dermatology providers are available and accepting new patients.

Meet Andrew Newman, DO | Chief Dermatology Resident

Dr. Newman began his residency training with Affiliated Dermatology in July 2017 and is now the Chief Dermatology Resident as he finishes his training in 2020. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Physiology from California State University- Long Beach, CA. Dr. Newman then spent two years studying pharmaceuticals at the University of Southern California before completing his Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine at Touro University- CA. He then trained at Mclaren-Oakland Hospital in Michigan where he completed his medical internship.

Dr. Newman specializes in general dermatology and Mohs surgery at Affiliated Dermatology. When asked why he chose to be a Dermatologist, Dr. Newman replied with “Dermatology is the most fascinating of medical specialties to me. I love that I can treat babies, teenagers, and adults. I also enjoy dermatology because I am able to manage skin cancer, which is abundant yet under-appreciated.”

In addition to caring for his patients, he enjoys making music on guitar and piano or playing a round of golf with his friends and colleagues. Dr. Newman also participates in mentorship programs at local high schools and medical schools.