Red dots on the skin are small, pinpoint spots that appear under the skin. Various factors, including minor injuries, infections, medications, or skin conditions can cause them. They can also be a result of medical conditions that affect blood clotting. It is important to identify the underlying causes to provide appropriate treatment and prevention.

What Are Red Dots On The Skin?

The appearance of small red dots on the skin can seem harmless but may actually indicate serious medical issues. These become more concerning if they spread throughout the body, increase in size, or even change in color as they can range from red to purple. Red spots can also be accompanied by itchy skin or other symptoms such as pain.

When they initially appear as small red spots on the skin, they might not appear concerning and can often go away on their own. However, they can eventually become troublesome and you may need to be seen by a healthcare professional for further evaluation.

Where Can Red Dots Appear?

Red dots on the skin can appear virtually anywhere on the body. Common areas include the arms, legs, abdomen, and buttocks, but they can also be found on the face, neck, eyelids, and even inside the mouth.

The distribution and location of these red dots can help provide clues about their underlying cause. For instance, if it is infection-based it will manifest in the area where it originally started. If it is allergy-based, it might appear everywhere on the body. Regardless of where they are located, persistent or widespread red spots will warrant medical evaluation to determine the underlying cause and treatment for the condition.


What Are The Symptoms of Red Dots On The Skin?

Red dots on the skin are typically characterized by small, pinpoint spots that are red, purple, or even brown. Symptoms will vary based on underlying cause[1]. Depending on the severity, they might be accompanied by fever, fatigue, or other signs of infection especially if due to an illness. However, if caused by a bleeding disorder, symptoms might include easy bruising, frequent nosebleeds, or excessive bleeding from minor cuts. Allergic reactions may include symptoms such as itching, swelling, hives, or difficulty breathing.

If the red spots are widespread, become worse in appearance, or are associated with other symptoms like shortness of breath, pain, or fever, immediate medical attention is necessary.

What are the Possible Causes of Red Dots?

There can be a variety of reasons for red dots on the skin[2] Sometimes the causes can be easy to pinpoint if it is based on a known allergy, medication, or a medical condition. However, there are other times when it may become difficult to determine, and consulting a healthcare professional would be necessary.

1. Heat Rash

Heat rash[3], also known as prickly heat or sweat rash, occurs when sweat clogs the pores, resulting in the appearance of small red dots or blisters that cause a prickling or stinging sensation. It can also be itchy or painful. This condition is common in hot, humid weather and during the summer months.

Treatment involves:

  • Keeping the skin cool and dry
  • Wearing loose clothing
  • Applying topical treatments like calamine lotion or steroid creams to alleviate discomfort.
  • Change out of sweaty clothes

2. Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris[4] is a common skin condition that causes dry, rough, tiny red bumps, often on the upper arms, thighs, cheeks, or buttocks. These bumps are harmless and occur due to the buildup of keratin (a protein that protects skin) which blocks hair follicles.

Treatment includes regular exfoliation and moisturizing with creams containing urea, lactic acid, salicylic acid, Vitamin A, and topical retinoids. These help to remove dead skin cells and prevent plugged follicles.

3. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is an inflammatory skin reaction caused by direct contact with an irritant or allergen. Common causes are skincare products. Symptoms include red and sometimes bumpy skin and accompanied by pain or itch.

Treatment involves identifying and avoiding the triggering substance, applying topical corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, and using antihistamines to control itching.

4. Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a chronic skin condition characterized by red, itchy patches that may ooze or become flaky. It often affects the face, neck, and inner elbows.

Treatment usually includes moisturizing regularly, avoiding triggers, and using prescribed topical steroids or even immune-modulating medications to control flare-ups.

5. Rosacea

Rosacea[5] is another chronic skin condition that causes redness, enlarged blood vessels, and sometimes red bumps on the face. It often affects the nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin. There are certain medications such as vessel dilators and topical steroids that can cause rosacea.

Treatment focuses on avoiding triggers and using topical and oral medications to reduce inflammation and redness.

6. Infections

Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections can cause red dots or rashes on the skin. Symptoms vary depending on the type of infection but may include fever, pain, and swelling.

Treatment involves appropriate antimicrobial medications such as antibiotics, antivirals, or antifungals.

7. Chickenpox or Shingles

Chickenpox is characterized by an itchy rash that turns into fluid-filled blisters and then scabs. It is caused by a virus and typically occurs in children. Shingles is caused by reactivation of the chickenpox virus, and it presents as a painful rash with blisters, usually on one side of the body. Shingles usually occurs in older people and can be prevented with shingles vaccines.

Treatment includes antiviral medications, pain relievers, and soothing lotions like calamine.

8. Rubella

Rubella[6], also known as German measles, is a contagious viral infection that causes a red rash typically starting on the face and spreading to the rest of the body. Symptoms of rubella are fever, headache, red, itchy eyes, and swollen lymph nodes. It is usually mild but can be serious during pregnancy. Vaccination is the best prevention.

Treatment focuses on symptom relief, such as using fever reducers.

9. Meningitis

Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, presenting with a rash that appears as red spots on the skin. Other symptoms that occur alongside are fever, headache, and neck stiffness. It is a medical emergency requiring prompt antibiotic or antiviral treatment and supportive care.

10. MRSA (Staph) Infection

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) [7] is a bacterial infection that causes red, swollen, painful bumps that may ooze pus. This typically occurs when the bacteria become resistant to many different antibiotics. MRSA tends to occur most often in healthcare settings and can be serious if it spreads.

Treatment includes drainage of abscesses and antibiotics effective against MRSA. Maintaining hygiene and avoiding contact with infected wounds are key preventive measures.

11. Scarlet Fever

Scarlet fever is caused by a streptococcal bacteria infection and presents with a red, sandpaper-like rash, high fever, flushed face, and a strawberry-like appearance of the tongue. It primarily affects children and typically occurs in those who have strep throat. Treatment involves antibiotics to clear the infection and supportive care to manage symptoms such as fever and sore throat.


What are Some Home Remedies to Treat Red Spots?

Depending on the underlying cause, home remedies can be effective in providing relief for mild skin irritation and helping to relieve red spots on the skin. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for more severe cases or if these therapies are not alleviating or worsening symptoms.

1. Cold Compress

Applying a cold compress can help reduce inflammation and also soothe itchy or irritated skin. Wrap ice in a cloth and apply it to the affected area for 10-15 minutes several times a day.

2. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a moisturizer that has both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Apply fresh aloe vera gel to the red spots to help reduce redness and promote healing.

3. Oatmeal Baths

Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve itching and irritation. Add a cup of colloidal oatmeal to a warm bath and soak for about 15-20 minutes.

4. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer that can help soothe dry, irritated skin. Apply virgin coconut oil to the affected areas to keep the skin hydrated and reduce redness.

5. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil in a carrier oil, such as coconut or olive oil, and apply it to the red spots.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has astringent and antibacterial properties that help reduce redness and can soothe itchy and irritated skin. Dilute it with water and apply it with a cotton ball to the affected area. Don’t forget to rinse off after a few minutes to prevent irritation.

7. Honey

Honey has antibacterial and healing properties. Apply a thin layer of raw honey to the red spots and leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.

8. Chamomile

Chamomile can reduce inflammation and soothe irritated skin. Brew chamomile tea, let it cool, and apply it to the red spots with a clean cloth.

What are Some Ways to Relieve Red Spots Cosmetically?

It may be difficult to treat or prevent red spots on the skin. Therefore, certain cosmetic products might be needed to lessen the appearance of the spots.

1. Green-Tinted Primer

Using green-tinted primers helps color-correct the red spots on the skin. Apply a thin layer before the foundation to create an even skin tone.

2. Concealer

Using a high-coverage concealer can match your skin tone which is helpful to cover the redness appearing on your skin. Dab it on the red spots and blend gently with a sponge or brush.

3. Moisturizer

Keep skin hydrated with a gentle, non-irritating moisturizer such as Infusoderm and Dermaxsol. This will also help reduce the appearance of inflamed spots. Using the deep cleanser such as Rejuvoderm can also help to prevent the impurities to absorb in the skin.

4. Sunscreen

UV damage can be a contributing factor to red dots on the skin. Therefore, applying sunscreen daily will protect sensitive skin from the damaging effects of the sun.

Lastly, make sure to use products that are gentle to the skin and avoid those with harsh ingredients like alcohol and fragrances.

When to Seek Help?

You may need to seek medical help for red spots on the skin if they are accompanied by severe symptoms such as high fever, difficulty breathing, intense pain, or rapid spreading. Additionally, if the red spots persist for a few days without improvement, are associated with other systemic symptoms like fatigue or swollen lymph nodes, or if they appear suddenly and are unexplained, immediate consulting with a healthcare provider is warranted. This may indicate a serious underlying condition like meningitis or even a blood disorder. Finally, always consult a healthcare professional for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.


Red spots on the skin can result from various causes, from minor irritations to serious health conditions. Home remedies and cosmetic solutions may offer relief, but persistent or severe symptoms will need the attention of a medical provider.

Understanding the root causes of red spots will aid in their treatment and prevention, ultimately helping you restore your skin’s natural beauty.


Q: What deficiency causes red spots on the skin?

A: Deficiencies in certain nutrients can lead to the appearance of red spots on the skin. They can also be contributing factors for certain skin conditions such as eczema or rashes.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D strengthens immunity, calms inflammation, and improves skin cell turnover. Deficiency can weaken the immune system, potentially leading to various skin problems, including red spots, and can exacerbate inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Iron: Iron helps to grow, develop, and repair cells in the body. Iron deficiency, or anemia, can cause pale skin and red spots due to a lack of oxygen supply to the skin.

B Vitamins: B Vitamins help with new skin growth and repair. However, the skin may look pale and dry when you are low in these vitamins. Flakes may also appear on the skin and can also irritate.

Zinc: Zinc is vital for skin health and immune function. A deficiency can cause various skin issues, including red spots, acne, rashes, and impaired wound healing. Zinc deficiency can also lead to conditions like dermatitis and eczema. Ensuring a balanced diet rich in these nutrients or taking supplements can help prevent the skin issues associated with their deficiencies.

Q: Are red dots on skin cancerous?

A: Red dots are typically not indicative of skin cancer. However, certain types of skin cancer, such as melanoma or basal cell carcinoma, can manifest as red or pink spots. It's important to differentiate between benign conditions and potentially cancerous lesions.

If red spots appear suddenly, change in size or color, bleed, itch, or are accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it's essential to consult a dermatologist for proper evaluation. Regular skin examinations and awareness of changes in moles or spots are key for early detection and treatment of skin cancer.

Q: When should I be worried about a red spot?

A: You should be concerned about a red spot if it grows rapidly, changes in color, shape, or texture, becomes painful or itchy, bleeds without reason, or if it appears suddenly and doesn't fade over time. Additionally, if the red spot is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention promptly. It's crucial to monitor any unusual changes in your skin and consult a dermatologist for proper evaluation, especially if you have a history of skin cancer or other concerning medical conditions. Early detection can lead to better outcomes.


1] https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/skin-hair-and-nails/red-spots-on-skin
2] https://skinkraft.com/blogs/articles/red-spots-on-skin
3] https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/heat-rash#
4] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/keratosis-pilaris/symptoms-causes/syc-20351149
5] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rosacea/symptoms-causes/syc-20353815#
6] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rubella/symptoms-causes/syc-20377310
7] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mrsa/symptoms-causes/syc-20375336

Celeste Small

Celeste Small

Medicine has always been a passion ever since she was young so it was no surprise when Celeste decided to pursue pharmacy. Celeste Small was born in South Florida and raised in Melbourne, FL. She graduated from Rockledge High School in 2010 and received both her Bachelor of Science (in 2014) and Doctor of Pharmacy (in 2018) degrees from the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL. Celeste has worked at in an independent pharmacy in Titusville, FL for three years after graduating from pharmacy school and currently is working at the Patrick Space Force Base in Cocoa Beach, FL as a contract pharmacist. Celeste is also currently a freelance medical writer on the side and has written content for blogs, presentations, and for educational material. She also manages a website called Pharmacistconsult.com where she and other pharmacy colleagues post informative medical information for both healthcare professionals and consumers alike. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, going to theme parks, listening to music and enjoying the Florida sun.


  • Bachelor of Science, University of South Florida
  • Doctor of Pharmacy, University of South Florida


  • Florida Board of Pharmacy License
  • Florida Consultant License


  • Staff Pharmacist-Itani Family Pharmacy 2018-2022
  • Contract Pharmacist-Patrick SpaceForce Base 2022-Present
  • Freelance Health Content Writer 2018-Present
Written by Celeste Small

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