Skin redness – causes, treatment

Skin redness

Skin redness or red skin or reddish skin spots are to be considered separately from rashes, although they have similar appearance patterns. Skin redness is generally a color change of the skin that can have natural causes, such as excitement or exertion. However, skin redness also occurs in the context of diseases, such as Lyme disease or hemorrhoids. The reddening of the skin on the head, face and hands is most noticeable, as these parts of the body are usually not covered by clothing.

What is skin redness?

Skin redness basically refers to all changes to the usual complexion that are accompanied by redness.

It can be a small, punctual redness, but also larger appearances, which include, for example, wheals.

In addition to the redness of the skin, other complaints may occur: Itching or pain of various kinds are common, in some cases the reddened skin feels hot.

Occasionally, however, skin redness is also the sole symptom of an underlying disease.


Reddening of the skin usually occurs as an infectious reaction to the penetration of pathogens. In part, the change in the skin marks the place where the infection took place – in part, the affected area of the skin has nothing to do with the focus of inflammation.

Wound rose, for example, is one of the diseases that causes the affected area of the body to blush. These are invading bacteria that lie under the skin and from there cause it to change. In hives, on the other hand, red wheals are formed, which are not directly related to the causative disease.

Even minor injuries to the skin can lead to redness around the wound, which, however, are not caused by bacteria: They are an immune reaction of the body, where it increases the body temperature as a precaution in order to prevent bacteria, viruses or fungi from penetrating from the outset. Physical causes can be scratches or insect bites. In the case of a scratch, the reddening of the skin is due to a short-term irritation of the skin, which quickly recedes. The insect bite is a chemical reaction.

Skin redness can, of course, have causes that do not involve diseases as a result. Usually, these temporary redness are signs of increased blood circulation. This is caused by excitement, exertion or temperature influences.

This can also lead to very rapid reddening of the skin, which is related to sweating, hormonal changes or inner restlessness. Furthermore, redness of the skin can also be cosmetic. For example, through massages, peelings and masks. All these forms are to be regarded as rather harmless and not pathological.

Skin redness, which is to be regarded as rather pathological, occurs, for example, in allergic reactions and other intolerances. This also includes skin redness caused by sunburn and reddening caused by toxins (mushroom poisoning) or medication. Furthermore, damaged blood vessels, neurodermatitis, eczema and irritated skin (environmental influences) come into consideration as causes.

Diseases with this symptom


Skin redness is still taken seriously in babies and small children. Most adults, on the other hand, dismiss it as a non-specific symptom that can occasionally arise – without getting to the bottom of the cause. In most cases, they are certainly right, the skin occasionally reddens in adults for quite harmless reasons and then calms down on its own.

Skin redness that lasts longer, recurs or even causes pain, on the other hand, indicates a more serious cause. If they are not taken seriously, there is a risk that a cause requiring treatment will not be recognized at all. It could be a mild allergy or a skin condition that can be counteracted – if detected.

In the same way, reddening of the skin can be the beginning of an infection that is not recognized as such in good time and treated accordingly. This carries the risk that it can spread unhindered on the skin. The earlier an infection of the skin is treated, the easier and less complicated the healing will be. Even reddening of the skin with a known cause, such as an insect bite, is often dismissed as a normal skin reaction.

Still, they suggest that the cause is a bigger problem for the body than expected. So if redness is persistent, causes pain, spreads, swells, or the surrounding skin feels warm, it’s better to overschedule than underspend.

When should you go to the doctor?

Skin reddening can be attributed to a wide variety of causes. In most cases, reddening of the skin is unpleasant, but harmless and does not require medical treatment. Harmless reddening of the skin usually disappears on its own.

If, on the other hand, reddening of the skin occurs over a longer period of time, shows sharp boundaries and becomes hot, this must be clarified by a doctor. If there are additional symptoms such as fever, swelling, severe itching and fatigue, a doctor should be consulted in any case. This applies in particular to children and to skin redness that occurs as part of a childhood disease such as chickenpox, rubella, measles, scarlet fever or rubella. With scarlet fever and rubella, the skin is reddened over a large area, with measles and chickenpox this shows individual reddish pustules.

Affected adults should also consult a doctor in case of a suspected infection with a childhood disease, as childhood diseases in adults often have a more severe and protracted course. Likewise, skin changes in the genital area (groin, penis, vagina) should be clarified by a doctor in order to exclude infectious skin diseases (e.g. skin fungus). Also, skin redness that occurs after a tick bite should be examined by a doctor in order to be able to treat a possible infection with Borrelia at an early stage.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.