There are several reasons why the skin can become blotchy and red. Some mild and some are serious medical conditions that require immediate treatment. Common causes are burns, irritation, allergic reaction, and infections.

Below are 10 most common things that make your skin blotchy:

  1. Sunburn

This is the most common cause of blotchy skin. It is caused by the ultraviolet (UV) radiation of the skin. The UV radiation damages the skin, and the body’s way of responding is sending more blood to the affected area for healing, thereby causing the redness.

Other symptoms of sunburn include:

  • Itching
  • Blisters
  • Skin peeling
  1. Other Burns

Burns are not limited to sun exposure, and few other burns can cause blotchiness of the skin.

  • Chemical burn: This occurs when the body is exposed to chemicals like acids and bases.
  • Electrical burn: This happens when the body comes in contact with the strong electrical current like a bare
  • Thermal burn: This is caused when the body is exposed to something scorching like hot water or fire.
  • Radiation burn: This happens when the body is exposed to radiation like radiation therapy in the treatment of cancer
  • Frictional burn: Burn can be as a result of friction between the body and another hard or coarse surface.

Burns are classified according to the severity

  • First degree burns are characterized by redness of the skin.
  • Second-degree burns affect multiple layers of the skin.
  • Third-degree burns are the most severe, and the damage goes beyond the skin, deep into the muscles and bones.

3. Dermatitis

This is the term used for general inflammation of the skin. There are 2 types of dermatitis, namely

  • Atopic dermatitis: This type of dermatitis is inherited and is common with infants.
  • Contact dermatitis: This type of dermatitis happens when the skin comes in contact with an irritant that triggers an allergic reaction.Substances that can cause dermatitis include chemicals, soaps, cosmetics, dyes, etc.
  1. Heat Rash

Exposure of the body to extreme temperature may bring about heat rash. It is caused by the combination of heat, sweat, and friction, and the blockage of the sweat glands triggers it. Heat rashes develop where parts of the body rub together or where there are layers of skin fold like the thighs or arm. Symptoms include itchy skin, red bumps, and white bumps on the skin.


It is an inflammatory skin condition that affects the face. It causes redness and visible blood vessels on the face. This redness can appear on the nose, chin, cheeks, and forehead.

There are no specific causes of rosacea, although certain lifestyle or habits can worsen the symptoms. The following can worsen the symptoms of rosacea with time.

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Exercise
  • High temperature
  • Medications
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Diary

There is no known cure for rosacea, and it can only improve signs and symptoms.

Rosacea is classified into 4 main types depending on the symptoms

  • Erythematolangiectic rosacea: This is characterized by flushing and visible blood vessels on the face.
  • Ocular rosacea: The symptoms are swollen eyelids and irritation of the eyes.
  • Papulopustular rosacea: Symptoms include redness, swelling, and acne-like spots on the face.
  • Phymatous rosacea: Causes bumpy and thickening of the skin.


  1. Psoriasis

It is an autoimmune condition that speeds up the production of skin cells, causing skin pigmentation. This causes red patches on the skin that are often accompanied by white or silvery scales. There are 5 types of psoriasis

  • Plaque psoriasis: About 80% of psoriasis diagnoses is plaque psoriasis. It is characterized by red patches on the skin that often comes with white or silver scale. They are often found on the elbows, knees, and
  • Guttate psoriasis: Common with children, it causes pink spots on the legs, arms, or
  • Pustular psoriasis: Symptoms are red patches and pus-filled It usually affects the hands or feet.
  • Inverse psoriasis: It causes bright red patches on the skin. Inverse psoriasis affects parts of the skin that are usually covered like genitals, breasts, and groin.
  • Erythrodermic psoriasis: This is the least frequent but severe form of psoriasis. The red patches cover a large part of the body and are often accompanied by general unwellness of the body like It could be life-threatening and must be treated with urgency.

Causes are unknown, but genetics and the immune system play a crucial role in the development of psoriasis.

  1. Shingles

This is also known as Herpes Zoster is a nerve infection that affects the skin surface that covers the nerve. The varicella-zoster virus causes shingles. Red blotches with itchy blisters filled with fluid are the major symptom of shingles. It is impossible to have shingles without a history of chickenpox or contact with the varicella-zoster virus. Treatments can heal the symptoms, but the virus can lay dormant in the body for years. The varicella vaccine known as chickenpox vaccine protects the body from shingles and chickenpox.

  1. Folliculitis

This is a skin condition caused by infection and the inflammation of the hair follicles. It appears as red blotches with white pus-filled blisters and can appear anywhere on the body where there is hair.

Causes of folliculitis are:

  • Shaving
  • Cuts or bites on the skin
  • Skin conditions like acne
  • Swimming pool infection
  • Steroid Creams
  • Sweat
  • Hair Braids



Folliculitis is classified as either superficial or deep folliculitis.

Superficial folliculitis

  • Pseudomonas Folliculitis: It is known as hot tub folliculitis is caused by bacteria in swimming pools and hot tubs.
  • Bacterial Folliculitis: This type is caused by a staph infection that enters the skin through an opening like a wound.
  • Pseudofolliculitis Barbie: It is known as barber’s itch is caused by an ingrown hair. It affects any part of the body with ingrown hair, including the genitals.
  • Pityrosporum Folliculitis: It usually affects the upper body and the face and is caused by yeast infection.
  • Deep folliculitis
  • Boils: They are caused by a staph infection, swollen, and filled with pus.
  • Sycosis Barbae: It is a type of barber’s itch that causes permanent hair loss and leaves
  • Eosinophilic Folliculitis: This a very severe type, common with people with HIV/AIDS or cancer.



There are several medications for folliculitis, and the medication depends on the type and stage. Common medications are

  • Antifungal creams
  • Antifungal shampoo
  • Antibiotics creams
  • Steroid Creams
  • Oral corticosteroids
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Oral antifungals
  1. Cellulitis

This is a bacterial skin infection which appears as tender red blotches on the skin. Cellulitis is treated with antibiotics and usually heals within 2 weeks of treatment.

  1. Drug allergy

Blotches may appear on the skin as a result of an allergy to a recent medication. It may occur days or even weeks after using a particular drug. Other symptoms include fever, stomach upsets, and several dots on the skin.

There are several causes of blotchiness of the skin. They range from mild causes like burns, drug allergy, and heat rashes to medical conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis, cellulitis, and folliculitis. Treatments vary and depend on cause and severity.