Symptoms

Red spots on the skin


As is well known, there are many possible reasons for skin irritation. Red spots on the skin are a particularly versatile variant of skin changes. They can range from locally limited to pronounced areas of skin that cover a large part of the skin surface. The possible causes of such stains are also very different. From harmless nervousness to sun exposure to serious illnesses, numerous influencing factors come into question here. The following article provides information on triggers and treatment methods.

Definition

Red spots or spots on the skin do not represent a separate clinical picture. Rather, they are to be understood as a symptom that either appears as a sign of illness or indicates short-term skin irritation. In some cases, the red dots are not too serious. For example, they can briefly appear as so-called heat spots

  • great heat,
  • direct sunlight
  • or local friction.

Sometimes red skin spots or spots are simply a sign of high tension and are then colloquially referred to as hectic spots. They mostly appear on the face, neck and décolleté area and are temporary

  • Nervousness,
  • Restlessness
  • or due to stress.

Like heat spots, hectic spots very often form a localized, reddened skin area, which is made up of small dots up to larger skin spots.

At the latest when the tension or the effects of heat, sunlight or local friction have subsided, both hectic and heat spots will disappear relatively quickly within a few hours. However, if the red dots persist for several days or even weeks, those affected should give them a little more attention and, if necessary, consult a doctor if necessary. Because in addition to the causes, which can be classified as rather harmless, serious skin diseases can also hide behind the skin irritations. Are very common here

  • Allergies (especially contact allergies),
  • chronic skin diseases,
  • Circulatory disorders,
  • Fever diseases,
  • Infectious diseases
  • or even cancer

as the originator of the red skin spots. With fever in particular, corresponding points are also referred to as fever pimples. They are able to spread particularly large areas on the body and often affect the torso and face.

Caution: Fever pimples should not be confused with cold sores caused by cold sores! These blisters, especially in children, tend to develop in the area of ​​the lip and are usually caused by an infection with type I herpes simplex virus. In contrast to small dots on the skin, the blisters are relatively large, filled with infectious wound secretions and sometimes very painful.

Another variant of red skin spots are so-called blood spots (also: blood spots or purpura). They are usually associated with circulatory disorders or a tendency to red birthmarks. In both cases, medical clarification is advisable. It looks similar if red spots on the skin are specifically associated with symptoms such as fatigue, fever, itching, pain, swelling or a general feeling of illness. Here an allergy, skin or infectious disease could be hidden behind the skin irritation.

Allergies and intolerance as the main cause

Red spots or spots on the skin are often an expression of an allergy or intolerance. Both contact allergies to the skin and intolerance to various foods or medications can be considered. The following allergens and irritant factors can be named as particularly frequent triggers:

  • Ingredients of disinfectants,
  • Cosmetic articles and their ingredients and perfumes,
  • Food additives (e.g. food acids, preservatives or flavorings),
  • Food allergens (e.g. gluten, soy, cereals, nuts, milk or plant substances),
  • Medicines (e.g. antibiotics, hormone preparations, cortisone or blood thinners),
  • Stress stimuli (e.g. anxiety, hectic pace, inner restlessness or mental problems),
  • Temperature and climate stimuli (e.g. sun, heat, cold or moisture),
  • Environmental allergens (e.g. plant pollen, plant or animal toxins or environmental pollutants).

The degree of skin irritation can be very different with the corresponding stimulus influences. Contact allergies are mostly limited to the areas of the skin that come into contact with the allergen. For example, with an allergy to hand disinfectants, dotted rashes are mostly limited to the hands and forearms, or to an allergy to certain cosmetics are often only limited to the face. But even here, the spots can later spread to the entire body if no suitable countermeasures are taken. Contact allergies are also often associated with itching, flaking and burning skin.

On the other hand, intolerances to food or medication are usually not limited locally, since the allergen can be distributed throughout the body via the gastrointestinal tract and the bloodstream. For example, a punctiform or blotchy rash on the entire torso is very often described when treated with the antibiotic penicillin.

Basically, information about a possible allergy to medication or food is less about the type, distribution and characteristics of the points on the skin, but rather about the temporal relationship between ingestion and occurrence of the skin irritation. If an allergy is suspected to be the cause, those affected should definitely discuss this with a doctor and initiate further diagnostic measures, because allergies can have serious or even life-threatening consequences, such as anaphylactic shock.

Red dots for skin diseases

Skin diseases as the cause of red spots on the skin can arise from various factors. These include, among others

  • hormonal influences (e.g. during puberty, pregnancy or menopause),
  • genetic predisposition (especially for chronic skin diseases and birthmarks),
  • Infection germs (mostly bacteria, parasites, fungi and viruses).

Hormonal changes particularly favor skin diseases such as acne or pregnancy dermatosis. These diseases usually disappear after the end of the hormone changes, whereby the time until the skin irritation subsides is often very painful for those affected. The complaints of genetically caused skin diseases such as

  • Dyshidrosis,
  • Hemangiomas,
  • Mastocytosis,
  • Neurodermatitis,
  • and psoriasis.

Dyshidrosis is relatively unknown. So far, doctors have not quite agreed on how this disease develops, but it is striking that it occurs frequently in wet and cold seasons, i.e. autumn and spring. As a result of the disease, raised spots of skin develop, primarily on the fingers or sides of the fingers. These spots contain an inflammatory liquid, which spreads in the skin tissue as the disease progresses as soon as the skin rises open inwards. As a result, there is severe itching to painful swelling, as well as skin flaking and inflammation in the fingers. In some cases, dyshidrosis is also a preliminary stage to neurodermatitis.

Autoimmune diseases as the cause

In addition to some skin diseases such as neurodermatitis or psoriasis, which already have an autoimmune background, there are other autoimmune diseases that can be used to trigger red-dotted skin irritation. What they have in common is that the body directs tissue structures and secretions against itself or against its own body cells due to immunological disorders. The causes of such processes are currently still being researched in many cases of autoimmune diseases. However, a combination of genetic and environmental factors can very often be identified as the author.

Some autoimmunological processes are directed directly against the skin and the cell and tissue types located in it and thus lead to red spots or other skin defects. This is the case with diseases such as

  • Bullous pemphigoid,
  • Behcet's disease
  • and forms of purpura.

Other examples from the field of autoimmune diseases are initially directed against other organ systems and tissue types, but can also show up in red spots or spots on the skin. These include:

  • Celiac disease,
  • Lupus erythematosus,
  • Crohn's disease,
  • Sarcoidosis.

Skin infections and red spots on the skin

The range of infectious diseases associated with red spots or skin spots is particularly wide. In some diseases, an extremely pronounced skin irritation is one of the main or key symptoms. This is the case for example with the following infectious diseases:

  • Shingles
  • Skin fungus,
  • Scabies,
  • Lice infestation,
  • Measles,
  • Rubella,
  • Ringed rubella,
  • Chickenpox.

It can be seen that the infectious diseases associated with red skin spots do not necessarily have to be skin-limited diseases. This is especially true for infections where the skin irritation tends to be a minor complaint. The pathogens are mainly caused by certain strains of viruses and bacteria, including:

  • Lyme disease bacteria (for Lyme disease)
  • HI viruses (for HIV or AIDS)
  • Hepatitis viruses (for hepatitis)
  • Syphillis bacteria (for syphillis)
  • Epstein-Barr virus (with Pfeiffererschean glandular fever)

Vascular diseases and coagulation disorders as the cause

Diseases of the blood and blood vessels can sometimes cause very extreme red spots on the skin. These appear either very small and the size of a pinhead (so-called petechiae), but can also grow up to a size of several centimeters. As a rule, they are blood red to purple in color and slightly above normal skin level. Possible clinical pictures are:

  • Hemangioma,
  • Osler's disease,
  • Wegener's disease,
  • Blood clotting disorders.

Such diseases urgently require medical examination, since they can mean a massive intervention in the systemic processes of the body.

Diagnosis

As already shown, the spectrum of causes for red skin spots is very diverse. In addition to the common causes, such as allergies, intolerance and skin diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, vascular diseases and coagulation disorders are also possible. In order to limit the possible causes, it is therefore important that the affected person and the attending doctor observe the skin irritation with regard to various characteristics. The following questions should be answered:

  • Do the skin irritations occur depending on the day or the season?
  • Is it a single or a patch-like distribution of the points?
  • Do the dots have a raised structure or are they adapted to the skin level
  • Are the red dots distributed over the whole body or locally limited?
  • Are there any accompanying symptoms such as itching, burning, scaling, pain, swelling?
  • Does the symptom worsen due to certain stimulus influences such as washing hands, sun exposure or contact with certain substances?

Depending on the suspicion, specific laboratory tests and imaging examination methods can then be used. Skin tests to detect intolerance are also conceivable. If necessary, the referral to a specialist or dermatologist is also carried out after the initial examination.

Therapy

The treatment of red spots on the skin is very dependent on the underlying disease. In some cases (especially with local skin irritation), the skin irritation subsides on its own within a few hours and does not require medical treatment. However, those affected should definitely consult a doctor if the red spots or spots on the skin persist or even multiply. In this regard, alarm signs are the following accompanying symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath,
  • Fever,
  • severe malaise,
  • Pain, burning, itching,
  • Oozing or pus of skin irritation,
  • frequent occurrence of the rash after stimulus influence (e.g. food allergens),
  • Flu symptoms (e.g. cough or runny nose).

Medical therapy

If the red dots are due to an allergy or intolerance, drug therapy does not necessarily have to be initiated, because the symptom usually disappears as soon as the triggering substance is metabolized and excreted. However, it is advisable to avoid the responsible allergen in the future or, if this is not fully possible, at least to limit contact. It is also advisable to have a comprehensive allergy test carried out in order to rule out further allergies. In severe allergic episodes, antihistamines can alleviate the symptoms.

In the case of skin diseases, the treating doctor will first try to prevent the rash from spreading and promote healing before the diagnosis is started. For this purpose, creams, lotions and gels with wound healing and anti-inflammatory ingredients are available. The use of creams containing cortisone is very common in this area. In particularly pronounced cases, cortisone can also provide relief as a tablet or solution for infusion. Wound healing substances often contain panthenol, linolen or zinc. If microorganisms are the cause of the skin defects, lotions with active ingredients can be used that prevent and kill these microorganisms (e.g. antifungal, antiskabiosa, acaricides).

If the symptom of red spots or spots on the skin is caused by infectious diseases, doctors can choose between various antibiotics (for microbial pathogens) or antivirals (for viral pathogens). These must be taken regularly over several days and the treatment must not be stopped prematurely even if the symptoms subside, otherwise the disease may break out again. At the same time, symptoms-treating medications are often administered, such as antipyretic and pain relievers.

If autoimmune diseases are suspected to be the cause, drug therapy is very complex and depends on the correct diagnosis. Above all, it is important to have a comprehensive diagnosis that goes far beyond the organ of the skin. Both patients and the doctor treating them should keep in mind that those suffering from an autoimmune disease can often have other autoimmune diseases.

Surgical therapy

Surgical methods are used for this symptom if the vascular malformations are very pronounced (e.g. hemangiomas) and cause considerable cosmetic suffering for those affected. Surgical removals, laser treatments, and cryotherapies can be used to reduce the extent of the malformation or, if possible, to remove it entirely.

Home remedies

To promote wound healing of affected skin areas, ointments or lotions with the active ingredients panthenol, linolen or zinc can be used, which are available in pharmacies. A lot of rest and a balanced fluid balance are also an easy-to-use and, above all, very effective home remedy for infectious diseases as the cause, because only a little stressed body can provide its own immune system with the necessary energy to fight the pathogens. For this reason, the treating doctor will - and to avoid possible contagion of the fellow human beings - issue a certificate of incapacity to work or prohibit the child from attending school or care facility for a certain period of time.

In the area of ​​autoimmune diseases, long-term changes in diet often also have a positive impact on the course of the disease. For example, Crohn's disease patients can be particularly rich in vitamins and minerals in order to counteract the disease-related lack of vitamins and minerals. For people with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is still the best treatment option.

Naturopathic therapy

In naturopathy, moist-cold or warm envelopes with the extracts of the following plants can be successful:

  • Aloe vera,
  • Chamomile,
  • Marigold,
  • Peppermint,
  • Tea tree oil,
  • Yarrow.

Especially with neurodermatitis or psoriasis, regular full or partial baths or therapeutic packs in dead sea salt, healing earth or silica can influence the affected skin areas to promote healing and relieve itching.

Red skin disease

Bullous pemphigoid, Behcet's disease, celiac disease, lupus erythematosus, Crohn's disease, sarcoidosis, shingles, skin fungus, scabies, lice infestation, measles, rubella / rubella, chickenpox, borreliosis, AIDS / HIV, hepatitis, syphillis, oesophageal morbidity, osteoarthritis of the hemisphere, osteoarthritis of the urine, Pfeiffer's disease , Wegener's disease, blood coagulation disorders (ma)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Swell:

  • Knut Brockow et al .: Guideline Allergological Diagnostics of Hypersensitivity Reactions to Medicinal Products, S2K Guideline of the German Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology (DGAKI) and the German Dermatological Society (DDG), (accessed August 15, 2019), AWMF
  • Dorothea Terhorst-Molawi: Dermatologie Basics, Elsevier / Urban Fischer Verlag, 4th edition, 2015
  • Martin Röcken, Martin Schaller, Elke Sattler, Walter Burgdorf: Taschenatlas Dermatologie, Thieme Verlag, 1st edition, 2010


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