Red Rash Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your red rash symptoms with Buoy, including 7 causes and common questions concerning your red rash.

Red Rash Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your red rash

Contents

  1. 7 Possible Red Rash Causes
  2. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  3. Statistics
  4. Related Articles

7 Possible Red Rash Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced red rash. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Non-specific skin rash

Common causes of rash are contact dermatitis, sun damage, or allergic reaction. However, many rashes are a symptom of disease and should not be ignored.

Nonspecific rashes have widely varied symptoms:

  • May be flat and smooth; slightly raised or with swollen welts; clean and dry; or blistered and oozing.

May spread widely over the body, or be confined to one site.

  • May appear after eating certain foods; or after exposure to certain plants or to insect stings or bites.

Other symptoms may be present, including pain anywhere in the body; nausea; vomiting; fever; headache; or abdominal pain and upset.

Diagnosis is made through patient history and physical examination to determine the exact type, location, and history of the rash, along with any other symptoms that may be present.

Those symptoms will be investigated with blood tests or imaging. Skin swabs may be taken and tested. After the process has ruled out as many causes as possible, a course of treatment can be determined.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: rash

Symptoms that always occur with non-specific skin rash: rash

Urgency: Wait and watch

Non-specific dermatitis (skin inflammation)

Nonspecific dermatitis, or contact dermatitis, simply means inflammation of the skin from many different causes.

Most nonspecific dermatitis is caused by skin contact with a substance that provokes a reaction, which could be anything from plants to soap to jewelry to fabrics. Some may be due to an autoimmune condition, where the body's immune system attacks itself.

Risk factors include a family or personal history of allergies, asthma, or other condition which weakens the immune system; or constant contact with metals, plant life, or chemicals.

Symptoms commonly include red, swollen skin rash with itching, blistering, or oozing, which may become painful and infected.

Dermatitis itself is not contagious but can interfere with quality of life. A medical provider can help with managing the symptoms.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, and sometimes skin biopsy and patch testing.

Treatment involves using protective measures if the substances cannot be avoided; making nutritional improvements to strengthen the immune system; using corticosteroid or other creams; and phototherapy.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: red rash, itchy rash, painful rash

Symptoms that always occur with non-specific dermatitis (skin inflammation): red rash

Urgency: Self-treatment

Eczema (atopic dermatitis)

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a non-contagious chronic skin condition that produces an itchy rash. It is caused by a genetic condition that affects the skin's ability to protect itself from bacteria and allergens. The most susceptible are those with a family hi...

Read more

Red Rash Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your red rash

Irritant contact dermatitis

Irritant contact dermatitis means a skin reaction that is caused by directly touching an irritating substance, and not by an infectious agent such as a bacteria or virus.

Common causes are soap, bleach, cleaning agents, chemicals, and even water. Almost any substance can cause it with prolonged exposure. Contact dermatitis is not contagious.

Anyone who works with an irritating substance can contract the condition. Mechanics, beauticians, housekeepers, restaurant workers, and health care providers are all susceptible.

Symptoms include skin that feels swollen, stiff, and dry, and becomes cracked and blistered with painful open sores.

A medical provider can give the best advice on how to heal the skin and avoid further irritation. Self-treatment can make the problem worse if the wrong creams or ointments are used.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, to find out what substances the patient comes into contact with, and through physical examination of the damaged skin.

Treatment involves avoiding the irritating substance if possible. Otherwise, the person can use petroleum jelly on the hands underneath cotton and then rubber gloves.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: rash with well-defined border, itchy rash, red or pink, rough patch of skin, painful rash, red rash

Symptoms that always occur with irritant contact dermatitis: rash with well-defined border

Symptoms that never occur with irritant contact dermatitis: fever, black-colored skin changes, brown-colored skin changes, blue-colored skin changes

Urgency: Self-treatment

Allergic reaction (not life-threatening)

When the body encounters a harmful substance, it responds with inflammation and swelling that can be protective. In many individuals, the body responds this way to substances that are not normally harmful, like foods or pollen. This is the basis of allergy, or Type 1 Hypersensitivity.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: swollen face, swollen lips, lip numbness, hives, red swollen bumps or patches with a pale center, lip redness

Symptoms that never occur with allergic reaction (not life-threatening): shortness of breath, throat itching

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Hives

Hives, or urticaria, are flat red welts that can appear anywhere on the skin and usually itch. Hives often occur as an allergic reaction to something eaten or something that has contacted the skin. Foods, medicines, and plants are common causes, but sun exposure, stress, infections, and autoimmune diseases have also been...

Read more

Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition most commonly caused by an allergic reaction. In anaphylaxis, two types of immune cells — mast cells and basophils — are suddenly activated and release numerous inflammatory substances that cause blood vessels to dilate and become leaky, which can lead to low ...

Read more

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Red Rash

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • What color is the skin change?
  • Are there bumps on your rash?
  • Did you possibly brush into poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Please take a quiz to find out what might be causing your red rash. These questions are also covered.

Red Rash Quiz

Red Rash Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced red rash have also experienced:

  • 13% Warm And Red Rash
  • 12% Painful Rash
  • 4% Feeling Itchy Or Tingling All Over

People who have experienced red rash were most often matched with:

  • 66% Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
  • 33% Non-Specific Dermatitis (Skin Inflammation)

People who have experienced red rash had symptoms persist for:

  • 29% Over a month
  • 27% Less than a week
  • 25% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Red Rash Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your red rash