Symptoms A-Z

Upper Arm Redness Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Are you noticing a red rash or splotches on the upper arms? Read more below to learn about 6 possible causes of redness on the upper arms.

Upper Arm Redness Symptom Checker

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6 Possible Upper Arm Redness Causes

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

Allergic contact dermatitis of the upper arm

Allergic contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes irritated and inflamed following physical contact with an allergen. Common products known to cause allergic dermatitis include plants, metals, soap, fragrance, and cosmetics.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: upper arm redness, upper arm itch, scabbed area of the upper arm

Symptoms that always occur with allergic contact dermatitis of the upper arm: upper arm redness

Urgency: Self-treatment

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

Solar (actinic) keratosis

Actinic keratosis, also known as solar keratosis, is the most common skin condition caused by sun damage over many years. It appears as small, rough, raised growths that may be hard and warty.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: unchanged face redness, rough skin on the face, thickened skin with a well-defined border

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Upper Arm Redness Symptom Checker

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Allergic reaction to poison ivy/oak/sumac

Plants of the Toxicodendron genus are found throughout the continental United States, and exposure to these plants is a leading cause of contact dermititis, a medical term used to describe irritation and itching of the skin.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: rash, itchy rash, red rash, skin changes on arm, stinging or burning rash

Symptoms that always occur with allergic reaction to poison ivy/oak/sumac: itchy rash, rash

Symptoms that never occur with allergic reaction to poison ivy/oak/sumac: fever

Urgency: Self-treatment

Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the deep layers of the skin. It can appear anywhere on the body but is most common on the feet, lower legs, and face.

The condition can develop if Staphylococcus bacteria enter broken skin through a cut, scrape, or existing skin infection such as impetigo or eczema.

Most susceptible are those with a weakened immune system, as from corticosteroids or chemotherapy, or with impaired circulation from diabetes or any vascular disease.

Symptoms arise somewhat gradually and include sore, reddened skin.

If not treated, the infection can become severe, form pus, and destroy the tissue around it. In rare cases, the infection can cause blood poisoning or meningitis.

Symptom of severe pain, fever, cold sweats, and fast heartbeat should be seen immediately by a medical provider.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination.

Treatment consists of antibiotics, keeping the wound clean, and sometimes surgery to remove any dead tissue. Cellulitis often recurs, so it is important to treat any underlying conditions and improve the immune system with rest and good nutrition.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: fever, chills, facial redness, swollen face, face pain

Symptoms that always occur with cellulitis: facial redness, area of skin redness

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Non-specific arm rash

A rash is an area of irritated or swollen skin. Often, rashes are unidentifiable and some variation of normal. For example, scratching one's arm causes it to turn red (which is caused by mast cells releasing chemicals into the local area), but that's completely normal.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: upper arm redness

Symptoms that always occur with non-specific arm rash: upper arm redness

Symptoms that never occur with non-specific arm rash: fever

Urgency: Wait and watch

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Upper Arm Redness

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

  • Do you have a rash?
  • Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Is the red area flaky and rough to the touch?
  • Did your symptoms start after you were exposed to nickel (commonly found in jean snaps, metal pens, paper clips, cigarettes, etc.)?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

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

Take a quiz to find out what might be causing your upper arm redness

Upper Arm Redness Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced upper arm redness have also experienced:

  • 5% Forearm Redness
  • 4% Leg Skin Changes
  • 3% Abdominal Redness

People who have experienced upper arm redness were most often matched with:

  • 60% Solar (Actinic) Keratosis
  • 20% Allergic Contact Dermatitis Of The Upper Arm
  • 20% Irritant Contact Dermatitis

People who have experienced upper arm redness had symptoms persist for:

  • 30% Less than a day
  • 28% Less than a week
  • 26% Over a month

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Upper Arm Redness Symptom Checker

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Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.