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Skin doctor discusses skin issues caused by Covid-19


Skin doctor discusses skin issues caused by Covid-19

Have you suffered with the Covid skin rash?

Dr Qian Xu, Founder and Medical Director of Skin Aesthetics explains how covid can cause an increase in the sensitivity or reactivity in the skin and what to do about it if you experience ‘covid skin rash.’

Once covid enters the body, the immune cells in our respiratory tract detect it and activates the rest of the immune system. This immune response can be very exaggerated in some people, leading to more damage than necessary. The increased skin sensitivity and reactivity is only one of the visible effects of this exaggerated immune response.

Dr Qian Xu splits her time between serving the public as an emergency medicine doctor and as a skincare expert, training and practicing, helping patients to regain their confidence through the natural beauty of their skin. As an Emergency Medic, Dr Xu was on the front lines in A&E working through the covid pandemic. Now she takes on a leadership role, developing and improving the training and support given to overseas doctors.

Outside of the hospital, Dr Xu is well respected as a medical trainer, having been one of the lead trainers at Harley Academy, Dr Xu now sits on the Medical Advisory Board for the CCR, bringing together surgical and non-surgical medical aesthetics practitioners to learn best practice.

The Aesthetics Journal regularly features work written by Dr Xu promoting ethical practices and patient guidance for practitioners involved in aesthetics. Dr Xu has developed this knowledge and patient led approach as the clinical lead for Ai Beauty Clinic and through her own practice, Skin Aesthetics based in High Street Kensington in London.

 There have been anecdotal reports of a covid infection leaving people with red, rashy, irritated skin during and after the infection has passes. Is this due to the virus?

The skin rash, or “covid toes” as some people have started to call it is not directly caused by the virus. It is one of the results of an over-active immune system, leading to an allergic type rash in some and a vasculitis-like rash in others.

Are there other reasons the skin might be more inflamed after a covid infection?

A significant number of people develop long covid following the initial acute covid infection. We now know that there are two types of long covid, the fatigue predominant type and the MCAS type. MCAS stands for mast-cell activation syndrome, and this is essentially a hyper-allergic state where the body can initiate an allergic reaction to anything and everything. These patients could have significant skin issues, but will also suffer from many other problems.

How would you suggest someone with an active irritation/inflamed skin treat it during the initial flare-up and afterwards?

It is vital to get the correct diagnosis for your skin rash before starting any treatment. If the rash is driven by something systemic, then just using topical skincare would not be enough to control it, and there is a chance that it could make things worse. If you think you may have long covid and the skin issues have started after covid, it would be worth you attending a long covid clinic to get the necessary guidance.

Generally speaking, if the skin is dry, itchy or irritated, you should avoid using fancy serums or face scrubs. Stick to a simple moisturiser like E45 will help it to heal without irritation.


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