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Red Dots on Skin: 19 Causes, Some Serious
December 07, 2009 by Jillita Horton

Red dots on the skin usually don’t mean cancer – usually. But you should get acquainted with your skin and what is normal for it versus not normal, so that if you start seeing reddish dots, you’ll know whether to immediately see a doctor, or just relax and not worry.

I asked Joshua L. Fox, M.D., F.A.A.D., Director and Founding Physician of Advanced Dermatology, PC, about what could possibly cause red dots on the skin. Many things can cause this, and some of those causes are cancer.

Dr. Fox says that red dots have many causes from a variety of skin conditions. Here is a list of the most common:

– Red bumps – can be pus-filled over the face, chest and back: Acne

– Reddish raised flat sores: allergic reaction, irritant or allergic contact dermatitis, herpes, malaria, heat rash

– Reddish dome-shaped bumps, appears sprinkled randomly and itchy: insect bites

– Small red dot, larger or bruise-like spots that appear after taking a medicine: allergic purpura

– Red, raised strawberry like appearance: hemangiomas (scary-sounding name, but very harmless; also called angiomas)

Other causes:

– Reddish & flushed appearance around cheeks, chin, forehead and nose: rosacea

– Red, itchy rash that affects the groin area: jock itch, yeast infection, diaper rash in infants

– Expanding, red and slightly itchy rashes over the chest and abdomen: pityriasis rosea

– Scattered pink and red dots when a patient is feeling under the weather: viral infection.

When it means skin cancer:

– Red, scaly, crusted unusual growth on the lip, chin or anywhere on the face: squamous or basal cell carcinoma

– Reddish, irregular shape and colors: amelanoticmelanoma

– Reddish, purplish, dark or black raised spots anywhere that keep growing: Kaposi’s sarcoma

– Rarely a skin cancer can present as this: molluscum

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