Red spots on the skin can occur for a variety of reasons. In many cases, red spots or bumps aren’t a sign of a major problem; they could be caused by a simple rash or bug bite. Other times, red spots could be a sign of a more serious issue. Below we list some common causes of red spots on the skin. This list is meant to give you an idea of what the red spots could be a symptom of, but be sure to see a doctor for a true diagnosis.
Common causes of red spots on skin:
Acne: Acne is an extremely common skin condition that can range from mild to severe. The condition usually presents itself as skin bumps that can often become red or swollen.
Eczema: Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a skin condition that causes red, itchy and dry skin as a result of inflammation. Rashes from eczema may have red bumps that ooze or crust.
Hives: Hives are a rash of red bumps that occur suddenly on the skin usually as a result of an allergen. They usually last for hours or a few days before subsiding.
Rosacea: Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes tiny red pimples and redness of the skin. It typically only occurs on the face and it is common for small blood vessels to appear on the surface of the skin.
Allergic reaction: One of the most common reasons for red skin spots is rashes that occur from allergic reactions. The reaction could be to food, pollen or other allergens in the air, cosmetics, skincare, laundry detergent or a whole host of other irritants. A doctor can perform a patch test to reveal what allergens trigger a reaction on your skin.
Angiomas: Angiomas are skin growths that can occur anywhere on the body. They are caused by blood vessels that have clumped together and appear as red domed bumps, also known as papules, on or beneath the skin.
Heat rash: Heat rash is a result of sweat trapped in clogged pores and appears as itchy red bumps that can also feel tingly. This is a common condition in hot, humid weather and usually goes away once the skin temperature has cooled.
Sun allergy: Sun allergy is an itchy red rash that occurs from sun exposure, usually on fair skin that is not used to high levels of sunlight. Sometimes the condition is hereditary and in many cases it will clear up on its own.
Boils: A boil is a skin infection of the hair follicle or oil gland. It is usually a firm red bump that can often be filled with pus. They usually go away after they burst open and the pus or liquid has drained.
Cold sores: A cold sore is an inflamed blister that appears on the mouth or on other areas of the face. They are often filled with fluid and are caused by the herpes simplex virus. They are contagious and usually go away within several days to two weeks.
Bug bites: Bug bites usually appear as round bumps that are itchy and can become swollen. Mosquitos are common culprits, but if you wake up with small red bumps it could be a sign of bed bugs.
Keratosis pilaris: Keratosis pilaris is a harmless skin condition that occurs from the overproduction of a protein called keratin. It causes small, hard bumps around hair follicles especially on the thighs, buttocks and upper arms.
Psoriasis: Psoriasis is an ongoing skin disease that causes red, scaly and itchy plaques to form on the skin. It is caused by skin cells multiplying faster than normal. It often occurs on the knees, elbow and scalp, and, although it is incurable, it usually responds well to treatment.
Although less common, other serious conditions can also sometimes appear as red rashes, spots, patches or bumps on the skin:
· Intertrigo (body fold skin rash)
· Bleeding disorders
· Kawasaki’s Disease
· Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
· Genital herpes
· Genital warts
· MRSA (staph) infection
· Scarlet fever
Skin cancer, from melanoma to basal cell carcinoma, may also appear as red spots, scaly plaques or moles on the skin. That’s why it’s important to know when to see a doctor. See the list below for some general guidelines and be sure to always consult a doctor if you are suspicious or unsure about any bump or spot on your body.
It’s time to see a doctor with red spots on skin if:
· a bump or spot won’t go away over time
· you notice that the bump or spot is changing or getting worse
· you are clueless as to what could be causing the bumps or spots
· you have any suspicions at all of an infection or cancer