Upper Leg Redness Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Redness on the upper legs is most often seen as a rash on the thighs. This condition can be caused by contact dermatitis, or an allergic reaction from certain bugs or plants. Cellulitis can also cause a red rash on the upper thigh. Read on for more information about causes and relief options.

Upper Leg Redness Symptom Checker

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Contents

  1. 7 Possible Upper Leg Redness Causes
  2. Real-Life Stories
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics
  5. Related Articles

7 Possible Upper Leg Redness Causes

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

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

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 contact dermatitis of the thigh

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 leg itch, upper leg redness, scabbed area of the upper leg

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

Urgency: Self-treatment

Upper Leg Redness Symptom Checker

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Necrotizing fasciitis of the leg

Necrotizing fasciitis is a potentially life threatening skin condition stemming from the infection of a wound or injury. If left untreated, it can spread to body parts surrounding the infection changing the color of the skin and degrading the tissue underneath. This can result in muscle, tissue or limb loss and a severe body-wide response to the infection.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, chills

Symptoms that always occur with necrotizing fasciitis of the leg: leg skin changes

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Skin abscess

A skin abscess is a large pocket of pus that has formed just beneath the skin. It is caused by bacteria getting under the skin, usually through a small cut or scratch, and beginning to multiply. The body fights the invasion with white blood cells, which kill some of the infected tissue but form pus within the cavity that remains.

Symptoms include a large, red, swollen, painful lump of pus anywhere on the body beneath the skin. There may be fever, chills, and body aches from the infection.

If not treated, there is the risk of an abscess enlarging, spreading, and causing serious illness.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination.

A small abscess may heal on its own, through the body's immune system. But some will need to be drained or lanced in a medical provider's office so that the pus can be cleaned out. Antibiotics are usually prescribed.

Keeping the skin clean, and using only clean clothes and towels, will help to make sure that the abscess does not recur.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: rash with bumps or blisters, red rash, red skin bump larger than 1/2 cm in diameter, pus-filled rash, rash

Symptoms that always occur with skin abscess: rash with bumps or blisters

Urgency: Primary care doctor

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

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cells are the small, flat skin cells in the outer layer of the skin. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) a type of skin cancer that usually appears as a tiny, painless bump or patch. The most common spots for this cancer are the head (including scalp, lips, ears, and mouth), legs, and the backs of the hands and the arms.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: worsening face redness, rough skin on the face, scabbed area of the face

Urgency: Primary care doctor

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Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Upper Leg Redness

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

  • Do you have a rash?
  • Is the red area flaky and rough to the touch?
  • Did your symptoms start after you were exposed to glues, fragrances, preservatives, hair dyes, soaps, detergents, or other common household chemicals?
  • Did your symptoms start after you were exposed to nickel (commonly found in jean snaps, metal pens, paper clips, cigarettes, etc.)?

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

Please take a quiz to find out what might be causing your upper leg redness. These questions are also covered.

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Upper Leg Redness Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced upper leg redness have also experienced:

  • 7% Lower Leg Redness
  • 5% Knee Redness
  • 4% Foot Redness

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

  • 66% Cellulitis
  • 16% Irritant Contact Dermatitis
  • 16% Allergic Contact Dermatitis Of The Thigh

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

  • 46% Less than a day
  • 25% Less than a week
  • 12% Over a month

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

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