Red Spots on the Skin: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Red spots on the skin are a common medical complaint. When the spots occur in outbreaks, they are sometimes termed rashes. Rashes can occur due to infections of the skin, disseminated infections (that have spread throughout the body), allergic reactions, or irritations of the skin. When a red bump or rash is flat, it is medically known as a macule. When the red spot is raised, it is known as a papule. Erythema is the medical term for redness of the skin.

Red spots on the skin that occur singly can be a small benign tumor of blood vessels, known as a hemangioma. Tiny, pinpoint hemorrhages can be seen in the skin and are referred to as petechiae. Bleeding disorders can also lead to the formation of purplish red spots that are larger, known as purpura.

Rashes can be associated with other symptoms, such as hives or itching. Red spots on the skin that are related to underlying medical conditions will be associated with symptoms of the underlying condition.

Related Symptoms & Signs

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/9/2018
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