What Causes Red Spots on The Skin

red spots on the skin

Do you have red skin spots and wonder how or what caused it? People may notice some red spots on their skin, ranging from allergic reactions to heat exposure or many other factors.

In this article, we’ll discuss possible causes of red spots on the skin, how to treat them, and when to call your doctor.

What Are Red Spots on Skin?

A red spot can be a localized area on the skin that appears red. These spots can vary in different size, intensity, and shape.

How Does Red Spot Develop?

red spots

How often have you spotted red spots on your skin? A red spot could start unnoticed, and sometimes you can quickly notice it, maybe because you feel pain around that particular spot on your skin. But either of the two is not the subject matter we are discussing but the causes of it and the treatment that follows suit. The underlying cause of the red spot is hard to determine without a medical examination.

Causes Of Red Spots on Skin

The appearance of red spots on your skin can be alarming. There could be many reasons behind the red spots on your skin.

According to SkinKraft Laboratories’ chief dermatologist, Dr. Harish Koutam, “Red spots that appear a multitude of factors, including various causes, can lead to skin-related issues. infections, illnesses, skin irritations, and allergies. You may need treatment or medication. Red spots can also occur due to contact dermatitis, purpura, petechia, cherry angiomas, drug rash, lichen planus, etc.”

To understand the causes of the red spot on the skin, below are some of the major causes of it:

  • Skin Rash

Rashes come in different sizes, colors, and textures. Environmental factors may cause some rashes. So, for example, if you recently relocated to a new location, your skin will react in a certain way, and you may need some time to adapt to that environment fully. However, some rashes, such as those beaten by an insect, may require emergency medical treatment. If you have a rash and notice any of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately:

  • Rash covering the whole body
  • A painful rash on the eyes, mouth, or genitals.


  • Acne

This can be one of the major causes of red spots on your skin. It usually affects the face, back, neck, chest, and pubic area.

Acne occurs when tiny pores on your skin get clogged by dirt and bacteria. This may result in the appearance of tiny red bumps on the surface of your skin. These bumps may or may not have a head and are usually filled with pus.


Some of the symptoms you will experience are:

  • Painful, red bumps/cysts
  • Pimple-like red spots
  • Tiny, red bumps on the face, neck, back, or chest



Treatment of acne typically depends on the severity and type of acne. If you have a breakout every month, your doctor may recommend topical treatments like benzoyl peroxide, topical retinoids, or salicylic acid. In the case of severe cystic acne, you should see a dermatologist who may recommend a topical treatment with oral medication like isotretinoin or antibiotics.

Laser treatment is another popular method to remove red marks left behind by acne. Through the removal of the skin’s outermost layer, this process effectively reduces the visibility of these marks. This process uses focused light therapy and is chemical-free.

Chemical peeling is a procedure that entails the elimination of dead skin cells and the outermost layer of your skin. Chemical peels work as exfoliators and come in three types – superficial, medium, and deep. Depending on the severity of your marks, your dermatologist may recommend chemical peeling as a treatment option.

Read here: How to Treat Acne with Benzoyl Peroxide.


  • Allergies

Allergic reactions are among the most widely caused red spots due to immune system responses. This happens when your body or skin comes into contact with something it considers foreign. Allergic skin reactions can be triggered by airborne allergens, certain foods like eggs, peanuts, insect bites, medicines, particularly penicillin, etc.

If you have sensitive skin, you are likely to spot red rashes on your skin now and then. Allergic reactions can also cause red patches or spots on your skin’s surface.


  • Red patches on the skin
  • Itchy and painful patches or spots
  • Occurs when in contact with a substance


Your dermatologist may recommend a topical cream or lotion to soothe the symptoms of an allergic reaction, like itchy skin.

Also, avoid foods or medicines likely to trigger allergic reactions in your skin.

  • Drug Rash

Drug rashes look like raised red bumps, a flat red rash, or scaly skin. Certain medications can be the culprit behind red rashes or spots on your skin. Any drug/medication can cause rashes. However, the most common ones occur due to the intake of antibiotics or anti-seizure drugs.

Drug rashes can happen to people of all ages and of both genders. Drug rashes can lead to a condition called DRESS. This condition can cause high fever, flu-like symptoms, skin burning, and organ damage. DRESS requires immediate medical attention.


  • Blisters
  • Red bumps
  • Itching
  • Peeling skin
  • Painful bumps


These rashes tend to fade when you discontinue taking the medication that caused them. Antihistamines may be recommended to reduce inflammation and other symptoms.

  • Keratosis pilaris

Keratosis pilaris (KP) manifests as tiny red, white, or flesh-colored bumps and is a prevalent skin condition.

The outer part of the upper arm is most commonly affected. Less commonly, the forearms and upper back can also be affected.


Some of the symptoms you will experience are:

  • Rough or dry skin
  • small painless bumps on the skin
  • itch


The treatment of KP includes using

  • moisturizers containing urea or lactic acid
  • alpha hydroxy acid
  • glycolic acid
  • lactic acid
  • retinoids
  • salicylic acid
  • laser or light therapy

  • Pityriasis Rosea

red spots on the skin

Because of how it appears, the inflammatory disorder pityriasis Rosea is sometimes compared to a crooked tree. Initially, it often appears as a huge, oval area on your skin, followed by tiny red spots across the chest, torso, back, and belly. Itchy or scaly patches are possible. The precise etiology of this skin ailment is unknown, according to researchers. However, some data point to a viral infection as a possible cause. According to research by the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), Pityriasis alba can afflict people of any age. But it often appears in persons between the ages of 10 and 35.


The symptoms you will experience are:

  • Headache, nausea, and fatigue before the patch appears
  • Small red spots across your back, chest, or abdomen
  • Itchy rash
  • Scaly red spots, often with a heightened border


Typically, Pityriasis Rosea tends to resolve spontaneously within 8 to 10 weeks. To speed up the healing process and relieve you of symptoms, your dermatologist may prescribe over-the-counter topical treatments like calamine lotion or zinc oxide. Antihistamines may also be recommended to reduce redness and itchiness. Products containing oatmeal may also help relieve your skin of symptoms. You can take lukewarm showers, too, to get relief.

Sometimes, your doctor may recommend taking prescription drugs such as corticosteroids to reduce itching and swelling or antiviral medication to manage the symptoms. You may also be asked to get some natural or artificial sunlight as they are said to reduce the duration of the rashes. However, this might have side effects too.

  • Rosacea

Rosacea is a skin disease that causes inflammation and redness of the skin.

The onset of Rosacea can happen to individuals of any age, though it is most frequently observed in adults aged between 30 and 60.


Symptoms of Rosacea include:

  • Irritated or reddened skin on the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin
  • blood vessels visible under the skin
  • Clusters of small bumps or pimples
  • thick facial skin
  • red, itchy, or watery eyes
  • eyelid inflammation
  • blurry vision


There are multiple approaches and medications available for the treatment of Rosacea. Strategies that can help reduce Rosacea include:

  • Avoid triggers such as UV light, alcohol, and harsh chemicals
  • Wash your face with a pH-balanced cleanser
  • Use moisturizer frequently
  • Ensure that you apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. or higher that offers broad-spectrum protection.

You should also avoid caffeinated products and spicy foods that cause Rosacea.

Medical treatments for Rosacea include the application of:

  • brimonidine tartrate
  • azelaic acid
  • metronidazole
  • electrosurgery
  • light therapy
  • topical ivermectin
  • oral tetracyclines
  • Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis arises when your skin responds to a substance it encounters. This is a dry skin condition. Harsh skincare products usually cause contact dermatitis if you have extremely dry skin. A study by the Indian Journal of Dermatology states that an estimated 15%–20% of the general population suffers from contact allergy.


  • Red spots
  • Hives
  • Swelling of the skin
  • Itchy and painful bumps/rashes
  • Scaly patches of skin


Anti-itch creams are used to relieve contact dermatitis symptoms.

  • Psoriasis

This is an autoimmune disease. It usually affects adults. However, some children can be victims too. Researchers are not sure what might be the exact causes of psoriasis, but they speculate a combination of genetics and environmental factors is causing the condition. When the body triggers immune system responses to fight bacteria and other foreign substances, it may sometimes overreact, causing the development of red spots and bumps on the skin of your elbows, knees, scalp, etc. Scaly, itchy, and painful red patches of skin accompany these.


  • Scaly, itchy patches on the body
  • Causes itching and burning


Psoriasis can be of different types, and each of them appears distinct. Your doctor can help diagnose it by its appearance and treat it accordingly. In rare cases, your doctor may conduct a skin biopsy. Various topical and oral treatments are available to relieve symptoms. Topical medications include topical corticosteroids, anthralin, topical retinoids, salicylic acid, and moisturizers.

  •  Swimmer’s Itch

This type of rash occurs if your body is exposed to parasite-infested water. This usually takes place in stagnant water bodies like ponds and lakes. Oceans can also be infested with parasites at times. When snails get infected with this parasite, they spread it in these water bodies.


  • Red, itchy rashes
  • Red bumps or spots


Your doctor may recommend antihistamines to relieve you of symptoms. Lukewarm baths and anti-itch creams may help soothe the rash.

  •  Pimples

Pimples are red spots that develop on your skin, chest, and upper back. They occur when skin pores are clogged with oil, dirt, and dead skin cells. When mixed with bacteria, these cause irritated, inflamed, red spots.

Usually, you can treat mild pimples at home with the help of over-the-counter acne products. However, severity can result in acne vulgaris or cystic acne, which needs medical attention to be treated.

Treatment options include topical products, oral antibiotics, corticosteroid injections, and chemical peels.

  •  Eczema

It is also known as “Atopic dermatitis”. It is a chronic inflammatory skin condition in which part of the skin becomes inflamed, itchy, cracked, and rough. Some types can also cause blisters which reveal red spots on the skin. Both home remedies and medical treatments can effectively manage and prevent flares.


The symptoms of eczema may vary from children to adults, which makes it difficult to distinguish. Some common ones include

A rash is scalier than children.

The rash often appears on the bends of the elbows and knees or the back of the neck.

  • A rash that covers most of the body.
  • The affected area of the skin will be very dry.
  • Rashes will often be itchy.


There is currently no cure for eczema. Treatment for this condition aims to heal the affected skin and prevent flare-ups of symptoms.

In some people, eczema subsides over time. But for others, it’s a lifelong symptom.

The following treatments can also help manage eczema symptoms and prevent recurrence.

  • Taking prescription drugs such as steroids or antihistamines
  • receive phototherapy or phototherapy
  • Apply a moisturizer to treat dry, cracked skin

To some extent, if eczema does not respond to some of the treatments, then you should dermatologist.

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