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What can cause red skin?

By BS MediaTwitter Profile | Published: Monday, 29 October 2018
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Table of contents
  1. Sunburn
  2. Other burns
  3. Dermatitis
  4. Heat rash
  5. Folliculitis
  6. Rosacea
  7. Psoriasis
  8. Shingles
  9. Lupus
  10. Drug allergies
  11. Cellulitis
  12. Scarlet fever
  13. Medical attention
  14. Takeaway
Skin redness can have galore different causes, including burns, allergic reactions, infections, and some health conditions. Certain causes are more severe than others and may require medical treatment.

In this article, we discuss several possible reasons for skin redness and when a person should see a doctor.


Ultraviolet rays from the sun cause skin damage.

Sunburn is a common cause of red skin and atypically results from disbursement too much time in the sun without adequate protection. The ultraviolet rays from the sun damage the skin, which turns red as the body directs more blood to the affected area to repair the damage.

Other symptoms can include:

Learn more about sunburn here.

Other burns

There are galore other shipway, aside from sunburn, that a person's skin can become burned. Examples include:

  • Thermal burns. These can occur when the skin comes into contact with thing hot, so much as flames, steam, and hot liquids
  • Chemical burns. Exposing the skin to strong or irritating chemicals, so much as bleaches, acids, and detergents can cause a chemical burn.
  • Electrical burns. These can occur if a strong electrical current, so much as from an exposed wire, reaches the skin.
  • Friction burns. When the skin repeatedly rubs against a rough surface or material, it can cause a friction burn.
  • Radiation burns. Radiation exposure can damage the skin, causation burns. For example, burns can be a side effect of radiation medical care for cancer.

Any of these types of burns can cause the skin to turn red.

Doctors class burns according to their severity:

  • First-degree burns are the mildest and normally consist of skin redness.
  • Second-degree and third-degree burns are more serious and damage multiple layers of skin.
  • Fourth-degree burns are the most severe and can affect the castanets and muscles below the skin.

Learn more about first-degree burns here.


Dermatitis, or skin disease, refers to a group of inflammatory skin conditions. These conditions atypically cause red, itchy patches of skin where inflammation has happened.

Some common types of eczema are:

  • Contact eczema. This form of eczema occurs when the skin comes into direct contact with an thorn or substance that causes an itchy rash.
  • Atopic eczema. besides best-known as atopic skin disease, this is a long-run form of eczema that often affects children.
  • Seborrheic eczema. This is some other long-run form of eczema that chiefly develops on the scalp, but can occur on other environment of the body where there are a lot of oil-producing glands, so much as the face and chest. It is besides best-known as dandruff, and in babies, it is called cradle cap.

Dermatitis can cause a range of other symptoms, including:

  • fluid-filled blisters
  • hives, which form an itchy, swollen, red rash
  • dry, scaly, or bumpy skin
  • flaky skin
  • other skin color changes

Learn more about the different types of eczema here.

Heat rash

Heat rash is when the skin becomes annoyed from hot or wet conditions. The eruption consists of red, itchy patches of skin with clusters of small, raised pimples. These patches can be uncomfortable and may cause a stinging or prickly sensation.

Heat rashes often develop in areas where the skin folds and so skin-on-skin contact occurs, so much as in the groin area or elbow creases.

Learn more about heat rash here.


Folliculitis causes the hair follicles in the skin to become inflamed.

Folliculitis is a common condition where hair follicles in the skin become inflamed. The inflammation is often the result of a microorganism or fungous infection.

Folliculitis causes small clusters of red bumps to appear around the affected follicles, which may be itchy. The area can become tender, and pus-filled blisters may develop.

Learn more about inflammation here.


Rosacea is a common condition that causes long-run redness of the skin, atypically on the face. The condition normally begins with flushing, which is when the skin permanently appears red.

These episodes of flushing may last for thirster periods of time as acne rosacea progresses and can become permanent. Others symptoms can include musca volitans and burning or stinging sensations in the affected areas.

Learn more about acne rosacea here.

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Psoriasis is a long-run condition that causes an overrun of new skin cells, consequent in red, dry, crusty patches of skin with silvery scales.

These patches tend to develop on the elbows, knees, or scalp but can appear anyplace on the body. The symptoms of skin disease tend to come and go in cycles.

Learn more about skin disease here.


Shingles is a microorganism infection that causes a red rash or blisters on the skin. The rash atypically appears on the trunk but can affect any part of the body, including the face and eyes.

Shingles normally begins with a burning or tingling sensation, which can be very painful in some cases. Fluid-filled blisters can besides appear, often on just one side of the body.

Only people who have antecedently had chicken pox can develop herpes zoster.

Learn more about herpes zoster here.


Lupus is a degenerative condition where the immune system erroneously attacks the body's variety meat and tissues.

The condition can affect any part of the body, including the skin. Some people with lupus develop rashes on the face, neck, and scalp. These are atypically formed areas of reddened, swollen skin.

Learn more about lupus here.

Drug allergies

Some people can experience an allergic reaction after taking certain medications, so much as:

  • penicillin and other antibiotics
  • epilepsy medications
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug drugs, so much as acetylsalicylic acid and ibuprofen
  • chemomedical care drugs

Drug allergies can cause:

  • skin rashes
  • hives
  • itching
  • skin swelling

In severe cases, a drug allergic reaction can cause hypersensitivity reaction, which is a dangerous condition.

Symptoms of hypersensitivity reaction may include:

  • breathing difficulties
  • dizziness
  • rapid heartbeat
  • confusion
  • loss of consciousness

Call the emergency employment or seek immediate medical attention for any signs of hypersensitivity reaction.


If a person does not receive treatment, inflammation can lead to severe complications.

Cellulitis is a skin infection that can become severe if a person does not receive rapid treatment.

Cellulitis occurs when bacterium infect deep layers of the skin and causes the area to become red, swollen, tender, and often warm to touch.

Cellulitis can besides cause fever-like symptoms, sometimes before the skin becomes affected. These symptoms can include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • cold sweats
  • nausea
  • drowsiness
  • difficulty concentrating

If left untreated, inflammation can lead to severe complications, so much as a blood infection.

Learn more about inflammation here.

Scarlet fever

Scarlet fever is a contagious microorganism infection that atypically affects infants and children. The infection causes a pinky-red rash that can feel rough. The rash normally starts on the chest but can spread to other areas of the body.

Other symptoms of scarlet fever include:

  • red, sore throat
  • high temperature
  • discolored, bumpy tongue
  • swelling of the neck
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • nausea and vomiting
  • abdominal pain

Learn more about scarlet fever here.

When to see a doctor

It is not alshipway necessary to see a doctor for skin redness. For example, a person can treat mild cases of sunburn at home by applying moisturizers and drinking plenty of fluids.

However, some causes of red skin do require medical attention. Contact a doctor if the rash:

  • does not go away after several years
  • covers large areas of the body
  • occurs aboard a fever
  • appears suddenly and spreads quickly
  • begins to blister
  • becomes painful
  • show signs of infection, so much as feeling warm or producing pus or other fluids


There are galore possible causes of skin redness, ranging from burns to allergic reactions and infections.

People should see a doctor for red skin that lasts more than a few years or keeps reoccurring. besides, they should seek medical proposal for rashes that are extremely painful or occur aboard more severe symptoms.

Some skin conditions are long-run with symptoms returning in cycles. Treatment for these conditions may be womb-to-tomb and can involve some medications and life style changes.

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