A few examples of Covid-19 related conditions on darker skin, which can appear on varying parts of the body.
A situation we often mention has recurred for Covid-19 skin conditions. As demonstrated by US and UK research, images of Covid conditions on dark skin are less likely to be shown than on fair skin.
This should not lead anyone to feel that they are more likely to occur on fair skin. Evidence to date is a little in the other direction but with much data to be gathered, not unwise to assume the problem is skin colour agnostic.
Causes of a range of lesions are still being investigated. Candidates include inflammatory response to spike proteins invading the dermis and receptor activation in keratinocytes, neither are particularly colour biased.
There is also a degree of misunderstanding in the media and elsewhere on Covid-19 skin conditions and the problem known as Long Covid.
An Ongoing Consequence
You will see significant variation in estimates of the number of people with Long Covid in the UK. Around 2 million is often suggested, with half a million seriously affected but the reality is, we don’t know.
This can be a quite awful outcome of Covid-19. Many sufferers were not too ill when contracting the virus, perhaps appearing to recover and then a couple of weeks later, finding themselves far worse off.
Symptoms include extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, muscle and joint pain, difficulty sleeping, what has often been described as brain fog and a loss of smell. Skin conditions are not normally associated with Long Covid.
A link is not impossible in a few cases but we should bear in mind that incapacity can cause rashes. The stress Long Covid may bring could also be a factor in heightening pre-existing skin conditions.
Skin hyperpigmentation, along with other issues can also be caused by medication. A feasible option for those with Long Covid, or just during Covid infection.
Setting Aside The Link
The information above is meant to add clarity but if you have a skin condition, this is not in a sense the key point. Most conditions benefit from early intervention, the core need is for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
A good consultant will take into account previous Covid infection, although they will investigate a range of points on your individual disease. Your longer term medical history will be considered, analysis of the lesions themselves.
They will also consider any subtle differences in the way conditions act on darker skin. How they show themselves, the personal impact this can have, the types of treatment likely to be most effective.
Whilst we are still learning, established treatments are effective for a number of Covid related skin conditions. As they are if conditions are stress related, or due to other health issues exacerbated by Covid.
As the earlier images showed, Covid-19 skin conditions vary, from chilblain like eruptions, to papules, to rashes resembling urticaria, or psoriasis. They may not be standard but their manifestation is similar.
Topical, or systemic corticosteroids can be effective, possibly anti-histamines, perhaps hyperpigmentation treatment in a few cases. The list for each case could be longer, because they are unique to you.
Dermatologists are playing an integral role in the diagnosis and treatment of Covid related lesions, along with those which have arisen concurrently. Helping you to recover can be less of a mystery than the virus itself.
Covid-19 has been and still is a damaging, global pandemic. Even so, medical science is more able to help than in previous pandemics. If you have a skin condition, please seek treatment and support.