What Do These Red Dots On Your Skin Mean?

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Red spots on the skin occur for various reasons. For example, exposure to irritants can cause dermatitis, fungal infections can cause ringworm, blood vessels can cause spots called purpura, and some autoimmune disorders can cause rashes.

Some spots will go away on their own, but others may require treatment.

This article discusses 13 causes of red spots on the skin, whether it is a cause for concern, and how to seek immediate medical attention.

Various colored spots on the skin
Spots may not look the same on different skin tones. For example, acne looks red on fair skin, but looks like a dark spot on dark skin.1 Also, studies have shown that because health textbooks do not teach about skin conditions, it is difficult for providers to identify acne. . .2

Heat rash (Milaria)
Red spots on the skin after exposure to the sun are caused by a condition called “heat rash”. A heat rash (miliaria) occurs when the sweat glands under the skin are blocked. It causes small, red, spiky bumps on the skin that are itchy and painful.

Heat rash usually occurs in skin folds or areas where sweat collects, such as the armpits, chest, back, arms, and groin.
People who live in hot climates, sweat a lot, or lie down for long periods of time are more likely to develop heat rash.
Heat rash can be treated at home with cold baths, cold compresses, and loose clothing to reduce skin temperature. Also, avoid applying thick moisturizers that trap the skin’s heat. 3

Heat rash usually goes away on its own after a few days. However, if the skin is damaged, it can cause secondary infection. In severe cases, oral or topical antibiotics may be needed to relieve pain and clear the infection.

Contact your health care provider if you develop signs of infection, such as a hot rash, peeling skin, or purulent discharge.

Heat rash and sun rash
Itchy, burning red spots on the skin after going outside can be caused by the sun or heat. While heat rash is caused by high temperature and sweat, sun rash is similar to sunburn.5

How to treat heat rash
Cherry angioma
A red spot on the skin can sometimes be a cherry angioma (or cherry hemangioma), which appears as a round red or pink spot made up of blood vessels. The ball can be raised or leveled. A growth may be mistaken for a tumor, but it is not cancer.

Cherry angiomas are common in adults 30 years of age or older. They usually appear on the trunk, but can also occur on the hands, feet, or scalp. Sometimes the size of the growth changes and it bleeds, but this does not mean that there is a problem.

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