If you have ever noticed tiny red spots on your legs, you might want to pay attention to them.
Aside from the unsightly bumps, red spots on legs could be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
It may also just be a symptom of an allergen or even insect bites.
We will examine the different types of red bumps on the leg and when home remedies can be used to treat the occurrences.
What Causes Red Spots on Legs?
A skin condition that can appear on anyone at any age, red spots on the legs can be concerning. The various causes may be accompanied by other symptoms and can affect people in different ways. You may have itchy red bumps or notice that the spots are raised. Depending on the cause, these red spots may be treated or could remain a part of your skin makeup for many years. To treat these spots, we first must determine the cause.
1. Insect Bites
A tiny red spot on the leg could be the result of an insect bite. The most common sign of this is itchiness. A bite could also cause a small rash or several red bumps due to multiple bites by the same bug. Insect bites are usually caused by mosquitoes, fleas, lice, bed bugs, gnats, or mites.
Itchy red bumps or spots may be the result of exposure to an allergen such as an ingredient in your laundry or body soap or medication. You may also have a hidden food allergy or sensitivity. Some people also may break out in red spots due to extreme outdoor temperatures or an abnormally high heat index.
Hives may be the result of allergies or external factors such as sunlight or chemicals. They can be mistaken for other conditions as they present as an itchy raised red bump that will appear flesh-colored when touched. Hives can appear on the legs and other parts of the body. They may be caused by food, medications, latex, pollen, and insect bites. Some people also have hive symptoms with certain medical conditions such as mononucleosis, the common cold, hepatitis, sinusitis, and some autoimmune diseases.
If you are undergoing treatment with cytotoxic drugs, such as with arthritis, you may have the side effect of red bumps on your legs. This may also indicate bleeding under the skin.
A common skin condition among children and adults is atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema. This results in itchy red and patchy bumps that can become dry and scaly. There may also be clear fluid discharge from the bumps. The American Academy of Dermatology claims 90% of cases are found with children under the age of five while 50% of childhood cases will be present in adulthood.
A very common cause of red bumps on the leg is folliculitis, commonly known as razor rash. The tiny red spots that appear after you shave your legs are actually inflamed hair follicles. A bacterial or fungal infection is behind this sometimes-itchy outbreak. In addition to improper shaving methods, you may also have folliculitis if you suffer from a medical condition such as diabetes or any condition with high risk for infection. It can also affect those using hot tubs, anyone overweight, or with an injury such as an open sore.
7. Keratosis Pilaris
The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology has listed this skin condition as a common occurrence among 40% of adults and 50 to 80% of teenagers. Keratosis pilaris usually looks like red or white small bumps and appears on the thighs or arms. Similar in appearance to goosebumps, the bumps indicate an excess amount of keratin in your pores.
If you notice the red spots on legs as well as other parts of your body, it may be psoriasis. Excessive skin cell production can result in red bumps with white silvery patches surrounding them.
9. Schamberg’s Disease
The appearance of reddish-colored spots on the legs before spreading to other parts of the body may indicate the onset of Schamberg’s disease. This skin condition is caused by the blood vessels leaking close to the skin.
10. Erythema Nodosum
This very rare condition is caused by the inflammation of fat cells beneath the skin. Little red spots on the leg can appear and may be accompanied by aches, pain, and fever.
Prevention and Home Treatment for Red Spots on Legs
Tiny red spots on the upper legs, or any location, can sometimes reoccur. The cause of red spots on legs will determine the treatment and further outbreaks may be prevented. You may even be concerned with red bumps on legs not itchy. Most cases can be treated at home. Serious outbreaks or signs of infection will require medical attention.
- Insect bite symptoms can be attended to with the use of calamine lotion to soothe itchiness and any discomfort. Prevention of bites include repellents and keeping skin covered.
- Avoid allergen stimulants such as irritating soaps or food products. If the red spots are caused by a sun allergy, douse the region with buttermilk.
- Eczema and psoriasis symptoms can be eased with the use of almond or jojoba oil applied directly on the spots.
- Razor rash, or folliculitis, can be avoided by keeping the legs clean and dry, and avoiding irritating material such as Lycra, denim, and wool. To prevent reoccurrences, shave legs in the direction of the hair growth.
- Keratosis pilaris can be treated with an apple cider vinegar application as its astringent components will unclog pores.
Unsightly red bumps on the leg could be a sign of a serious health concern or simply a reaction to a bug bite or allergen. Red spots on legs may appear alone or accompanied by other symptoms such as itchiness and fluid discharge. Before beginning any treatment at home, it is important to understand the cause of your outbreak. You may have a skin condition that can be controlled or prevented by making a few lifestyle changes. Watch for signs of infection with any red spots or red bumps on the leg and seek medical attention if warranted.
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“Red Dots on Legs,” MDDK Online Medical Doctor; http://mddk.com/red-dots-on-legs.html#treatment, last accessed February 27, 2017.
Upu, “Causes & Certain Home Remedies for Treatment of Large Red Spots on Leg,” Simple Remedies, June 17, 2011; http://www.simple-remedies.com/skin-care/large-red-spots-on-leg.html, last accessed February 27, 2017.