Our skin is prone to rashes, blemishes and bumps of all kinds. Most of the time, these outbreaks are harmless and will clear up on their own, but it’s always good to understand the common causes of our symptoms so that we can better treat and manage them when they arise.
Today, we go over some of the most common causes of non-itchy red spots on the skin. A non-itchy spot may go against what we think of as a “normal” rash or outbreak but there are a wide range of common causes for these spots. And, in many cases, a non-itchy red spot can be caused by the same thing as an itchy one. Get acquainted with the potential triggers below, and schedule an appointment with your doctor if you come across anything suspicious.
In addition to the information on this page, you should get the SkinVision app to check your skin for skin cancer and get a risk indication instantly.
Potential causes of non-itchy red spots
Birthmarks: Birthmarks are colored spots on our skin that are present at birth. Sometimes these blemishes can be red in color. When this is the case, they are usually a “vascular birthmark”. These types of birthmarks are caused by abnormal blood vessels in the 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 often become red or swollen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Heat rash: Heat rash is a result of sweat trapped in clogged pores and appears as red bumps that may or may not feel tingly or itchy. This is a common condition in hot, humid weather and usually goes away once the skin temperature has cooled.
Pityriasis Rosea: Pityriasis rosea is a rash caused by a virus that usually lasts from six to twelve weeks. It is characterized by a larger, “mother” patch, accompanied by smaller “daughter” patches around it. It is usually pink or red in color and may be raised and scaly in texture.
Intertrigo: Intertrigo is a rash that occurs in the folds of the skin. It usually shows up in the armpits, beneath the breasts, on the torso or on the genitals. It is common in people who are overweight or obese and occurs as a result of friction, increased heat and moisture and other irritation of the skin.
Dermatofibroma: Dermatofibroma is a nodule that usually develops on the lower legs in women, although they can occur anywhere on the body and in men. The growths are red or brown in color and non-cancerous. It is common to have more than one.
Irritant Contact Dermatitis: Irritant contact dermatitis is another term for a rash caused by irritation from a substance. Unlike a rash from an allergic reaction, it is not caused by an immune-related irritant. Instead, it is usually caused by repeated exposure to mild irritants like soaps, detergents or an acid or alkali of some kind.
Petechiae/blood spots: Petechaie, or blood spots, are round, red spots that occur as a result of tiny blood vessels called capillaries bursting under the skin. They are flat to the touch and can sometimes look like a rash. They are caused by a range of things, including injuries, straining and sunburns.
Hives: Hives are a rash of red bumps that occur suddenly on the skin, usually as a result of an allergen. They typically 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.
Bug bites: Bug bites usually appear as round bumps that may or may not be 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.
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Although less common, other serious conditions can also sometimes appear as red rashes, spots, patches or bumps on the skin, including:
· Bleeding disorders
· Kawasaki’s Disease
· Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
· Genital herpes
· Genital warts
· MRSA (staph) infection
· Scarlet fever
· Lyme disease
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 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