Red Streaks 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.

Related Symptoms & Signs

Red streaks on the skin are a characteristic sign of an infection of the skin or subcutaneous tissues, especially when the infection is spreading from its original site. In this case, other symptoms, such as pain, tenderness, swelling, and warmth typically accompany the red streaks. Red streaks can also be a sign of injury, such as a scratch injury. Striae, sometimes referred to as stretch marks, are streaks of reddened, thin skin that can occur as a result of rapid weight gain or abdominal enlargement during pregnancy. They can also occur in the setting of certain chronic disorders of the connective tissue. An excess of cortisol (Cushing's syndrome) can also cause striae.


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 3/28/2017
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