Chances are you’ve probably had red bumps or spots on your skin at some point throughout your life; round, flat, raised or itchy. While most red spots are harmless, they could trigger some concern when they appear, and sometimes they might be signs of something more severe than a simple heat rash or bug bite. Get to know some of the most common causes of red skin spots and bumps and find out when you should visit a doctor for further assessment and, if necessary, treatment.
Common causes for red skin spots and bumps
- Acne is a widespread skin condition that can range from mild to severe. It usually appears as skin bumps that often become red or swollen.
- 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 are a rash of red bumps that occur suddenly on the skin usually as a result of an allergen. They can last for hours or a few days before subsiding.
- 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 known for the small blood vessels that appear on the surface of the skin.
- One of the most common reasons for red skin spots is rashes that occur from allergic reactions, potentially to food, pollen or other allergens in the air, cosmetics, skincare products, laundry detergent, or a whole host of other irritants. A doctor can perform a patch test to reveal which allergens trigger a reaction on your skin.
- 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 is a result of sweat trapped in clogged pores and appears as itchy red bumps that can also feel tingly. This condition of red spots and bumps is prevalent in hot, humid weather and usually goes away once the skin temperature has cooled.
- 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 are 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 are 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 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 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 is an ongoing skin disease that causes red, scaly and itchy plaques on the skin. It is caused by skin cells that multiply faster than normal. This skin condition often occurs on the knees, elbow, and scalp, and, although it is incurable, it usually responds well to treatment.
Although less common, other severe conditions can also sometimes appear as red rashes, spots, patches or bumps on the skin, such as:
- Intertrigo(body fold skin rash)
- Bleeding disorders
- Kawasaki disease
- RamsayHunt 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 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 of an infection or cancer
Read More: Early melanoma symptoms and how to spot them
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