Red spots on the skin: causes and how to eliminate them

Have you had a rash in the form of red spots on your skin? We show you what conditions may be causing them.

Physician reviewed and approved Diego Pereira on November 28, 2021.

Last update: November 28, 2021

Red spots on the skin are one of the most common skin manifestations. They originate from a hundred conditions, and can disappear as soon as they have developed. Sometimes they are a consequence of a minor problem, although other times they are a sign of a condition that must be treated with a specialist.

When evaluating red spots on the skin, several criteria should be taken into account: the context of the appearance of the stain, its texture, its shape, duration and of course the intensity of the color. All this can be determined by a dermatologist, and below we will try to summarize the main causes of red spots on the skin.

Why do red spots appear on my skin?

Again we reiterate that the information you will find below is referential. Only a qualified professional can make a sure diagnosis of your spots on the skin, for which it will consider your age, medical history, family history and other elements.

Blemishes on the skin can develop through different catalysts. However, if you are here you have probably ruled out the more benign ones. Here’s a list of 6 conditions that can cause red spots on your skin.

1. Allergies

Skin allergies are characterized by red lesions due to redistribution of vascular flow, which is made worse by scratching.

With the term allergy It refers to a group of reactions that is characterized by a hypersensitivity of the organism to certain types of compounds and microorganisms. For example, you may have a food allergy, pollen, certain drugs, latex, mold, mites, and some insects, just to name the most common.

Among the frequent symptoms of all these conditions we find skin manifestations. They appear minutes or hours after contact with the catalyst and are usually accompanied by itching or burning.

These types of spots develop in the form of welts, so that they have a very defined relief. They can be concentrated in a specific area, or on the contrary spread randomly. Similar reactions can be triggered to episodes of stress.

2. Miliaria

The miliaria, also known as heat rash, is another of the frequent causes of red spots on the skin. Although most associate this condition with babies, the truth is that both adolescents and adults can suffer from it.

According to the researchers, it occurs when the superficial sweat ducts become clogged, resulting in tiny red bumps. They usually appear in skin folds, in very sweaty areas, or in areas that have been directly exposed to the sun..

It is a benign condition that only lasts a couple of days, although if it is neglected it can lead to infections (if you scratch with your nails, for example). The most serious type, miliaria profound, does not cause red spots on the skin; rather, it leaves behind a superficial appearance of goose bumps (with pale eruptions).

3. Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis, according to epidemiological studies, affects up to 20% of the population. It is a very common skin condition, one that occurs in both children and adults. It is an allergic reaction that occurs when your skin comes into contact with an irritating substance.

This type of dermatitis is chronic, so you develop it in the long term in episodes that are called exacerbations. Almost anything can trigger an exacerbation: from clothing to rubbing against an object to which you are allergic.

The red spots on the skin from this condition are characterized by intense itching, one that can even become unbearable. They can affect only the contact area or, on the contrary, spread throughout the body. It is a condition for which there is no cure, although some treatments can greatly alleviate the rashes.

4. Pityriasis rosea

Pityriasis rosea is a skin rash characterized by a single erythematous plaque that then progresses to many eruptions all over the trunk. Researchers are not sure why it is caused, although everything points to infectious processes. In fact, reactivation of the herpes virus has been suggested as its trigger.

The red patches on the skin from this condition are slightly scaly and often itchy (albeit mildly). It affects all age groups, but is more common in young or young adult patients. It is a benign condition that disappears after a few weeks, even many cases do not require treatment.

However, since it has been associated with some infections, it is important to have laboratory tests to rule out any underlying conditions. This is especially important when accompanied by a headache, fever, and sore throat..

5. Bleeding into the skin

Accumulated hemoglobin is the cause of the coloration so characteristic of hemorrhagic skin lesions.

Bleeding within the superficial layers of the skin is another possible explanation for this condition. It happens when multiple blood vessels break and cause a red spot. There are three types:

  • Petechiae: These are manifested through tiny spots that, technically, do not become spots themselves.
  • Purple: They appear when blood collects in the form of large, flat spots.
  • Ecchymosis: injuries similar to the previous ones but of greater extension.

This type of bleeding can be caused by episodes of stress, blows, trauma or friction. However, it is also possible that it is caused by some type of blood clotting disorder (as the evidence indicates). In any case, if they are very recurrent, you should consult a specialist.

6. Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a common skin condition that affects both children and adults (although it is more common in the former). It usually appears in patients with a family history, so it has a powerful genetic makeup. It is characterized by red spots on the skin that are generated on the arms and in the folds.

According to the researchers, affects up to 20% of children and 3% of adults. It is a chronic disease that develops through flare-ups, which can last for hours, days, or weeks. Keeping the skin moisturized can go a long way toward reducing them.

Other possible causes of red spots on the skin

The 6 conditions that we have presented are the most common when explaining red spots on the skin. However, there are dozens and dozens of conditions that can be behind them. To complete the previous list, we list other causes that can cause these episodes:

  • Measles.
  • Chickenpox.
  • Scabies.
  • Rosacea.
  • Lupus.
  • Psoriasis.
  • Eczema.
  • Superficial mycosis.
  • Lichen planus.
  • Cherry angiomas.
  • Tub.
  • Drug eruptions.
  • Insect bites.
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Skin cancer.

Although of course each condition has distinctive characteristics, they can be easily confused by inexperienced eyes. This is why, far from opting for a self-diagnosis, you should always consult a professional to rule out any of these. Do this particularly if the rashes are frequent or if there are associated symptoms.

How to remove red spots on the skin?

Surely you have noticed that we have not suggested any treatment for red spots on the skin in the conditions that we have presented. Since you do not have a sure diagnosis from a specialist, it is not recommended that you self-medicate from home.

However, there are some things you can do. First, avoid scratching the area with your nails. This only makes the area of ​​redness worse, makes it last longer, and even facilitates an infectious process. If it burns a lot you can relieve the pain with cold water compresses in the affected area.

Wearing loose clothing is very important, as tight clothing can make rashes worse. Preventing the stain from receiving direct sunlight, as well as coming into contact with an object or with your own skin are also basic measures.

The best thing you can do is consult with a specialist in search of a diagnosis. So you can start treating them and apply a series of lifestyle changes that will help reduce their appearance. Although some conditions that generate red spots on the skin have no cure, they can be controlled very well with the help of an expert.

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