Red or Purple Spots on the Skin
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Reviewed By:

Sarita Nori, MD

Sarita Nori, MD (Dermatology)

Dr. Sarita Nori was drawn to dermatology because of the intersection of science and medicine that is at the heart of dermatology. She feels this is what really allows her to help her patients. “There is a lot of problem-solving in dermatology and I like that,” she explains. “It’s also a profession where you can help people quickly and really make a difference in their lives.” | Some of the typical skin problems that Dr. Nori treats include skin cancers, psoriasis, acne, eczema, rashes, and contact dermatitis. Dr Nori believes in using all possible avenues of treatment, such as biologics, especially in patients with chronic diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. “These medications can work superbly, and they are really life-changing for many patients.” | Dr. Nori feels it’s important for patients to have a good understanding of the disease or condition that is affecting them. “I like to educate my patients on their problem and have them really understand it so they can take the best course of action. Patients always do better when they understand their skin condition, and how to treat it.”

Yukiko Ueda, MD

Yukiko Ueda, MD (Dermatology)

Dr. Ueda graduated from the Niigata University School of Medicine and trained at the University of Tokyo Medical School. She is currently a clinical assistant professor at the Department of Dermatology, Jichi Medical University, and holds several posts in the dermatology departments at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Komagome Hospital, University of Tokyo, and the Medical Center of Japan Red Cross Society.

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Content updated on Apr 4, 2024

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  • Red dots of blood on the skin

  • Purple dots on the skin

  • Purple spots on skin

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About the Symptom

Skin petechiae are small flat red purple marks that appear due to inflammation of blood vessels in the skin.

When to see a doctor

Seek professional care if you experience any of the following symptoms

  • Dark purple rash on lower limbs

  • Recent weight loss

  • Difficulty breathing / breathlessness

  • Violaceous / purpuric rash

  • Easy bruising

  • Swelling of the affected area

  • Vomiting of blood

  • Melena (black stools)

  • Gross hematuria

Possible Causes

Generally, Red or purple spots on the skin can be related to:

  • IgA Vasculitis (Henoch-Schonlein Purpura)

    A disease that causes inflammation and bleeding of small blood vessels, commonly affecting the skin, joints, intestines, and kidneys. This can lead to rashes, stomach pain, and kidney damage. Though it can affect anyone, it is more common in children under 10 years old. The cause is not well understood, but it may result from an immune system issue.

  • Purpura Pigmentosa

    Purpura Pigmentosa Progressiva, also known as Pigmented Purpuric Dermatosis or Schamberg's Disease, is a skin condition that presents with groups of small red dots inside the skin, usually on the arms and legs that can gradually become more orangish-brown. The exact cause is unknown, but it is caused by inflammation of tiny blood vessels in the skin called capillaries.

  • Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura

    Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) happens when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys platelets, which are blood cells that help with clotting. ITP can cause low platelet levels, leading to easy bruising and bleeding. Triggers include infections like HIV and hepatitis.

  • von Willebrand Disease (vWD)
  • Vasculitis Syndrome (Including Cryoglobulinemia)
  • Acquired Hemophilia

  • Congenital Hemophilia

  • Sjogren Syndrome

Related serious diseases

Sometimes, Red or purple spots on the skin may be related to these serious diseases:

Doctor's Diagnostic Questions

Your doctor may ask these questions to check for this symptom:

  • Do you have small red dots resembling bleeding under the skin?

  • Do you have bleeding dots on your fingers?

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Find Similar Symptoms

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References

  • McGrath A, Barrett MJ. Petechiae. [Updated 2023 Sep 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482331/

Reviewed By:

Sarita Nori, MD

Sarita Nori, MD (Dermatology)

Dr. Sarita Nori was drawn to dermatology because of the intersection of science and medicine that is at the heart of dermatology. She feels this is what really allows her to help her patients. “There is a lot of problem-solving in dermatology and I like that,” she explains. “It’s also a profession where you can help people quickly and really make a difference in their lives.” | Some of the typical skin problems that Dr. Nori treats include skin cancers, psoriasis, acne, eczema, rashes, and contact dermatitis. Dr Nori believes in using all possible avenues of treatment, such as biologics, especially in patients with chronic diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. “These medications can work superbly, and they are really life-changing for many patients.” | Dr. Nori feels it’s important for patients to have a good understanding of the disease or condition that is affecting them. “I like to educate my patients on their problem and have them really understand it so they can take the best course of action. Patients always do better when they understand their skin condition, and how to treat it.”

Yukiko Ueda, MD

Yukiko Ueda, MD (Dermatology)

Dr. Ueda graduated from the Niigata University School of Medicine and trained at the University of Tokyo Medical School. She is currently a clinical assistant professor at the Department of Dermatology, Jichi Medical University, and holds several posts in the dermatology departments at Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Komagome Hospital, University of Tokyo, and the Medical Center of Japan Red Cross Society.

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