Red spots on the skin is a very common complaint among people. In most of the cases, they are harmless. They may differ in their appearance, depending on the cause. Red spots may be seen singly or in groups and may be itchy or non-itchy.
In some rare cases, it may be a symptom of a serious condition like leukemia. The spots may develop suddenly or over a period of time, based on the actual cause of the condition.
The size of the spots may range from a small spot to a large one. The appearance may differ from flat to raised, and the color may range from pink to purplish red. This can also happen due to specific food allergies, or chemical or cosmetic allergies and may also happen due to some insect bites.
The spots may be accompanied by symptoms, depending on the underlying cause of the condition.
Itchy red spots on skin
If the red spots occurred on skin are itchy and irritating, it can be due to several reasons such as allergic reactions of specific foods or ongoing medications, insect bites like bed bugs, flea bites, mite bites or scabies.
Finding out the root cause behind these itchy spots is the only way to proceed to get medical treatment to find relief.
Sometimes there can be a rash or bumps on the skin. And these bumps can break out. If you go through the irritation of outbreaks, you can conduct a self-examination before seeing your physician or dermatologist. It can help you to diagnose the condition more accurately.
Think of having a contact with something unusual or intake of an unfamiliar or rare food product.
This can cause due to any natural substance like intake of fruits, vegetables or a skin contact with any household product containing chemicals or other ingredients that you are allergic to. IT will make the diagnosis easy for you to know if you have allergy related hives.
You may request a blood test to be conducted to understand if anything else is causing the red spots. A blood allergy test can give you the exact reason behind the red itchy spots.
There are several types of infections that can cause itchy red spots or bumps on skin. Even chickenpox and impetigo can give you similar blisters. A self-assessment can be helpful to you to provide more information to your doctor and it can ease the treatment towards the root cause.
Non-itchy red spots on skin
A non-itchy red spot can have causes similar to itchy red spots.
Here are some potential causes behind non-itchy red spots on skin:
- Birthmarks: Birthmark spots are the spots on the skin that are present at birth. They can be pink, purple, or red in color and are usually “Vascular Birthmarks” which are caused by abnormal blood vessels in the skin.
- Angiomas: Angiomas are abnormal skin growths that can be anywhere on the body. They are caused by blood vessels that have plodded together and look as if red vaulted bumps, also known as papules, on or beneath the skin.
- Acne: Acne is a very common skin disorder that can range from minor to severe. The illness usually presents itself as skin bumps that often become red or swollen and can break out.
- Allergic reactions: An allergic reaction may give an itchy or non-itchy spots on the skin. The root source of the allergy can be anything including specific food or any chemical or a cosmetic too.
- Pityriasis Rosea: Pityriasis rosea is a rash caused by a virus that generally lasts from six to twelve weeks. It is categorized by a larger, “mother” patch, complemented by smaller “daughter” spots around it. It is frequently pink or red in color and may be elevated and scaly in texture.
- Keratosis pilaris: Keratosis pilaris is an inoffensive skin disorder that arises from the overproduction of keratin. It causes small, tough bumps around hair follicles, particularly on the buttocks, thighs, and upper arms.
- Hives: Hives are a rash or red bumps that appear unexpectedly on the skin, commonly as a result of an allergen. They typically last for few hours or a few days before collapsing. They can be itchy or non-itchy, painful, or numb.
- Rosacea: Rosacea is a chronic skin disorder that causes little red pimples or spots and redness of the skin. It classically appears only on the face and it is common for small blood vessels to appear on the surface of the skin.
Other common symptoms of red spots include:
In some cases decreased appetite and flu-like symptoms are seen accompanying the changes in the skin. Pain in joints, redness in eyes, and sneezing are also seen in some of the cases. Some of the symptoms that indicate a life-threatening condition include high fever, tachycardia, severe headache, spontaneous bleeding, stiff neck, and rectal bleeding.
Causes of red spots are multiple. Many different diseases and disorders have red spots as one of the symptoms of the condition. It may be a symptom of inflammation in the body. Causes may be infectious, insect bites, allergic, autoimmune conditions, and others.
Some of the fungal, viral and bacterial infections may cause red spots in the skin. Many insects and parasites are also implicated in the development of red spots on the skin. Bedbugs, fleas, lice and mosquitoes, and ticks also cause these spots.
Many allergens and allergic conditions have red spots as one of the symptoms. Animal allergy, allergic contact dermatitis, allergic purpura, drug reaction, and food allergies are some of the causes.
Autoimmune conditions including vasculitis and systemic lupus are also causes of red spots. Other causes of red spots include broken blood vessels, overexposure to the sun, Kaposi sarcoma, certain medications, and sarcoidosis. Some severe conditions like leukemia, meningitis, allergic reaction and thrombocytopenia also have red spots as one of the symptoms.
Complications of red spots on skin depend on the underlying condition or disease. Red skin spots may result in encephalitis, bacterial pneumonia, organ failure, complications in pregnancy, respiratory arrest, rheumatic fever, and sepsis.
Review of medical history and physical examination help in identifying the probable cause of red spots on the skin. A skin biopsy may be recommended in some cases if serious conditions are expected as the possible cause.
In this procedure, a small sample of skin is analyzed. Depending on the underlying condition, one may be referred to a dermatologist for further diagnosis and treatment. One should take the doctor’s advice if the red spots do not go away over time, or if they change with time. This is particularly important if the person has an increased risk of severe conditions including cancer.
Treatment of red spots depends on the underlying cause. Most of the causes are harmless and may not require any specific treatment. Antibiotics are prescribed for the bacterial infection. For viral infections, over-the-counter medications, and home treatment would suffice.
Most forms of red spots can be treated successfully. When it comes to those caused by infection or any chronic conditions, timely diagnosis and treatment are needed for effective treatment. Frequent follow-ups may be necessary in certain cases.