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Causes of Red Blotches on Face

Updated on April 14, 2013
Lupus Butterfly Rash
Lupus Butterfly Rash


Many skin disorders and other conditions can cause red blotches on face. Here are some pictures of red rashes and other conditions that can cause redness. This article is for general information only. People who are experiencing a red rash should consult a physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

One of the telltale signs of lupus is a red rash across the face. This rash is sometimes referred to as a butterfly rash since it often resembles a butterfly shape. This butterfly rash picture is a classic example of what the lupus rash looks like. Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that often causes joint pain. It can cause other symptoms like numbness, fatigue, sensitivity to light, and hair loss.

Cold Sores
Cold Sores


A common cause of red blotches around the lips is cold sores. The cause of cold sores is the herpes simplex virus. This condition is contagious. Once people have been infected with herpes simplex, they can have recurring breakouts of cold sores.

Red rashes that appear on the face can be from skin conditions like eczema and types of dermatitis. Eczema is a genetic condition that can cause rashes with flaky skin and redness. Contact dermatitis is an allergic reaction to something to which the skin has been exposed. Makeup can sometimes cause contact dermatitis on the face.

Ringworm on the Face
Ringworm on the Face

 Ringworm is a fungal infection that can occur on the face. Ringworm on the face most often occurs in men in the area where the beard grows. If the ringworm is in the area of the beard, it is sometimes called barber's itch. The ringworm of the beard is a fungal infection of the skin and hair follicles.

When some people become embarrassed, they blush. While most people blush with a slight shade of red, some people's faces turn bright red or develop red blotches. I had speech class with a girl who used to develop red blotches on her neck and face every time she had to give a speech. Besides psychological stress and embarrassment, other causes of blushing include spicy foods, bright sunlight, and temperature extremes.

Child with Fifth Disease
Child with Fifth Disease

Fifth disease is a viral infection that is sometimes called "slapped cheek" because of the red rash on the cheeks that it causes. The scientific names for this infection are Parvovirus B19 and Erythema infectiosum. The red rash on cheeks caused by fifth disease usually goes away within two weeks though it may periodically return.

The rash can spread to the arms and legs. Other fifth disease symptoms include fever, joint pain, and anemia. This condition most often affects young children. This viral infection is most prevalent in springtime.

Severe Case of Rosacea;  photo by: M. Sand, D. Sand, C. Thrandorf
Severe Case of Rosacea; photo by: M. Sand, D. Sand, C. Thrandorf
Radiation Dermatitis
Radiation Dermatitis

 When a hair follicle becomes plugged with bacteria, skin oils, or dead skin, a pimple forms. Acne is a cause of red spots on the face. In some cases, the area becomes reddened before the head of the pimple is visible. A pimple that is sealed from the air develops a white center. Pimples that are exposed to the air while they develop turn black and commonly are called blackheads.

 Rosacea is a skin condition that can cause red blotches, sores resembling acne, or spider-like blood vessels. Some people with rosacea develop a red, bulbous nose. This condition is usually harmless, rosacea can damage the person's self-esteem. There are rosacea medications to reduce the redness, but there is no cure for rosacea.

 Radiation dermatitis is a reddened rash that can appear on the face or other parts of the body after radiation treatment for cancer. The affected skin may be tender or painful. Moisturizing the skin and using prescribed lotions can help reduce the pain and redness of radiation dermatitis. Some doctors prescribe the use of special lotions to try to prevent radiation burns.

Severe Cellulitis
Severe Cellulitis

Cellulitis is a bacterial skin infection. Staph (Staphylocococcus) and Strept (streptococcus) bacteria are the most common bacteria that cause cellulitis. The area of the cellulitis may feel hot and painful and look red. Other symptoms of cellulitis include fever and the skin may look stretched or tight. People with diabetes and vascular disease are more prone to cellulitis.

I hope you have found this guide to the causes of red blotches of the face to be helpful and informative. Please remember that it is best to consult a physician if you have a rash so that you can receive a proper diagnosis and treatment.


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