Science Explains 5 Reasons People Get Red skin

Science Explains 5 Reasons People Get Red skin

red skinHealth

When it comes to skin redness, there are a variety of things that can contribute to the condition including burns, allergic reactions, infections, and certain health problems. Skin redness, in some cases, can be resolved with common over-the-counter medication; however, there are times when medical attention is required. In this article, we will identify 5 conditions that can lead to skin redness and when you should consider seeking medical care.

Science Explains 5 Reasons People Get Red skin


Not surprisingly, sunburn tops the list when it comes to skin redness. This condition, which is a byproduct of too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet ray and not enough sun protection, causes the skin to become red as blood in the body is redirected to help repair sun-damaged skin. In addition to skin redness, sunburns can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms including

  • Itching
  • Peeling skin
  • Blisters
  • Sensitive skin

In addition to sunburn, the following types of burns can also contribute to skin redness:

Thermal burns – These types of burns generally occur when the skin comes into contact with steam, hot liquids, or a hot surface.

Electrical burns – These burns occur when the skin comes into contact with exposed wiring or strong electrical current.

Chemical burns – These burns generally occur if the skin is exposed to strong or irritating chemicals like bleach and acids, for example.

Radiation burns – Radiation therapy, commonly used in cancer treatments, can cause burns and other forms of skin damage.

Friction burns – These burns are generally the byproduct of the skin being rubbed against carpets or other rough surfaces repeatedly.

While generally temporary, all of these burns can cause skin redness. It should also be noted that these burns are categorized based on severity, ranging from first-degree to fourth-degree burns.


Dermatitis, which is a group of inflammatory skin conditions, can often result in itchy patches of skin that is usually accompanied by redness, particularly on the areas of the skin where inflammation has occurred. Also known as eczema, dermatitis can take on many forms including

Seborrheic dermatitis – This inflammatory skin condition primarily forms on the scalp and may cause dandruff; it can also occur on other parts of the body as well, especially in areas with a lot of oil-producing glands. Some of the more common areas prone to seborrheic dermatitis include the face and chest.

Contact dermatitis – This specific type of dermatitis typically occurs whenever the skin comes in contact with allergens that causes itch or rash. It may also stem from the skin coming in contact with certain irritants like latex and certain household cleaners, for example.

Atopic dermatitis – Commonly referred to as atopic eczema, this type of dermatitis is common amongst children and causes itchiness and redness.

Along with itchiness and redness, all form of dermatitis can produce the following symptoms including

  • Blisters filled with fluid
  • Hives
  • Flaky, dry, or scaly skin
  • Discoloration
  • Bumpy skin


Rosacea is a long-term skin condition that is known to cause redness, particularly on the face. In most cases, it begins with flushing, which can last for an extended period of time as rosacea progresses and can become if left untreated. Along with red skin, common symptoms include spots as well as a burning or stinging sensation.


It is important to note that red skin is not relegated to adults only as it is also quite common amongst infants and very young children. To help put this into context, scarlet fever, which is a bacterial infection that causes red skin, primarily affects children. Scarlet fever is often characterized by patches of rough skin, which is generally a pink or reddish color. In most children, the condition develops on the chest but may also spread to other areas of their body as well. Along with skin redness, scarlet fever is notorious for producing the following symptoms:

  • Sore throat
  • Muscles aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Fever
  • Discoloration on the tongue
  • Swelling


In addition to sunburn, long-term sun exposure can lead to red skin, especially if you’re in an exceptionally hot or humid climate. Along with redness, the condition typically consists of patches of skin that itchy and small raised pimples, which gather in clusters. Also, heat rashes tend to form on the groin, elbows, and other places where the skin folds or there is skin-to-skin contact.


While it didn’t make the list of top 5 contributors to red skin, it is worth noting that certain medications can trigger an allergic reaction that includes skin redness. Some of the more common prescription medications that cause this condition include

  • Antibiotics
  • Medications used to treat epilepsy
  • NSAIDs
  • Chemotherapy medications

In addition to these side effects, certain prescriptions medications may also cause hives, itching, and skin rashes.


Because red skin can be the result of many things, including an underlying health condition, treatments can vary from person to person. For those who have been diagnosed with a health problem that contributes to skin redness, seeking treatment for that condition is highly recommended. The same applies to medications that contribute red skin as well; if you’re experiencing skin redness as a result of prescribed medication, consider speaking with your physician as he or she may be able to recommend an alternate medication. Having said that, if your skin redness is the result of a burn or an allergic reaction, the following treatments may be beneficial:


Because of its natural anti-inflammatory properties, honey is a great way to soothe irritated, red skin. To get started, first cleanse your skin with warm water and then apply a generous amount of honey to the affected area. For best results, leave the honey on your skin for a minimum of 30 minutes before finally rinsing it off. Although honey is useful in treating skin irritation and redness, it is not a recommended treatment for sunburn.

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