Red spots on the legs: what are they due to and what can I do?

When red spots appear on the legs there may be concern. However, they are not usually signs of something serious. Read on and find out what the causes are.

Last update: January 02, 2022

Red spots on the legs may appear occasionally or recurrently. In some cases, they subside after a short time; but other times they become permanent.

Regarding this, they are diverse the causes of red spots on the legs. This includes allergic reactions to medications, insect bites, circulation problems, psoriasis, and dermatitis.

However, if they are not accompanied by other symptoms, there is usually no reason for concern. But if there is a fever, pain in the area, severe itching or burning, it could be a sign of a disease.

Causes of red spots on the legs

In various areas of the body there may be redness of the skin, from the face and neck to the feet. Each one has different characteristics, as well as a motive or factor that triggers them.

Is named petechiae to certain round reddish spots that appear in various areas of the body, including the legs. They can respond to a bleeding disorder or infection.

For practical purposes, we will not differentiate between the petechiae and the other presentations. Next, we will know what are the possible causes of red spots on the legs.


The rash is caused by heat, which causes the sweat glands to become blocked. Normally, it manifests itself in large areas of the skin, such as the legs or the back; or where there are folds, such as the groin, armpits, and neck. In addition to the red spots, there are also itching and small breakouts in the affected area.

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema or atopic eczema, is another reason why red spots may appear on the legs. This is a skin disease that, In addition to redness, it causes itching and flaking.

It manifests itself at any age, although it is more common in children. The causes are not exactly known.

According to studies, it is considered a multifactorial process, related to genetic and immune aspects. It can last a lifetime.

Atopic dermatitis can appear in the form of hives, with raised skin on the legs.

Keratosis pilaris

Is it is a relatively common condition, as well as harmless. It is due to an excess in the production of keratin, a fundamental protein for the epidermis, as well as for nails and hair.

In particular, keratosis pilaris manifests itself with lesions that have the appearance of small bumps or pimples, as well as red spots on the legs, buttocks and cheeks. It is common in people with a tendency to dry skin or allergic pathologies.


There may also be red spots on the legs due to a mycosis. This term is used to refer to the skin conditions caused by fungi. Symptoms of mycosis include the following:

  • Blisters
  • Flaking
  • Itch.
  • Discoloration or redness.

Within the mycoses, mention should be made of ringworm, also called tinea corporis. Ringworm spots look like rounded patches, circular in shape and clearer in the center.


This is a chronic autoimmune disease. In psoriasis, the body overproduces skin cells.

Its most noticeable symptoms are itching, flaking, and red spots on the legs, soles of the feet, hands, or scalp.


This disease is caused by Sarcoptes scabiei, a mite that parasitizes the skin and can be transmitted by direct contact. In scabies or scabies there are redness, itching, burning, hyperkeratotic lesions (thickening of the skin), and even ulcers when the person scratches.


Although it has a similar name, it should not be confused with cellulite that it affects from an aesthetic point of view. Unlike this one, cellulitis infection is a serious problem. It is produced by colonizations with streptococci or staphylococci.

Circulation problems

When there are circulation problems, some symptoms appear in the extremities, such as the following:

  • Red spots on the legs.
  • Tingling or itching sensation in the feet.
  • Cold or dry feet

Chronic diseases

Red spots on the legs can also be a clinical sign of care, as are associated with the presence of some chronic diseasessuch as skin cancer or lupus.

Allergic reactions

Lastly, allergic reactions due to insect bites, consumption of certain medications or contact with substances (allergens) can also cause red spots to appear on the legs.

What to do if there are red spots on the legs?

Sometimes, the red spots on the legs may disappear on their own. For example, when they are due to rashes. Other times a treatment will be required or some preventive measure will have to be taken.

Treatment suspension

When red spots on the legs are suspected to be due to a reaction to a drug, it is necessary to contact the doctor and inform him of such a reaction. In this case, suspension or replacement with another drug with a similar effect may be considered.


In ringworm and other mycoses, the treatment to follow includes the use of oral or topical antifungals or antifungals. This, of course, should only be done if prescribed by the professional.


Some petechiae that are infectious in origin require antibiotics; the same for cellulite. In addition, antibiotics may be recommended for people with eczema to prevent potential superinfections.

Antibiotics are indicated when there is cellulitis or if there are petechiae due to bacterial infection.


When the red spots on the legs are due to an allergic reaction, the first thing to do is identify the cause (allergen) to avoid contact. Later, an antihistamine may be given to relieve symptoms.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids

In cases where, in addition to the redness of the skin, there is inflammation, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids can be used. The latter are recommended in lupus, for example.

Topical creams

Various ointments are available to relieve itching or irritation, which often accompanies the appearance of red spots on the legs. As usual, topical creams with hydrocortisone are used. Although there are also based on natural products; for example, those of aloe vera that have obtained successful results in the approach of psoriasis, as reported by studies.

Changes in diet and habits

Also in cases of problems with circulation, it is recommended to make changes in the diet, reducing the amount of salt and increasing the consumption of vitamin C. Likewise, moderate and prescribed physical activity should be carried out.

Should I go to the doctor if there are red spots on my legs?

Red spots on the legs not necessarily a symptom of care. They can be due to a variety of causes, from allergic reactions and infections to contact with substances or insect bites.

Now, you have to pay attention if, in addition to the redness, other symptoms appear. Among these, the intense itching or burning, pain in the area or fever are of greater attention.

It is important to note that sometimes the red spots on the legs could be an indication of a chronic underlying disease. Therefore, going to the doctor will allow a timely diagnosis.

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