What causes erythematous?

Updated February 21, 2017

Erythematous is a medical condition identified by redness of the skin. It is typically the result of an infection or inflammation on or below the skin, resulting in dilated and congested capillaries. There are a variety of causes for erythematous, outlined here, although in about half the cases the specific cause is unknown. Physicians speculate unidentified allergic reactions account for most of the unknown causes of Erythematous.

Erythematous Caused by Sunburn

Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV rays), typically from staying in the sun too long, is a common cause of erythematous. Tanning beds can produce the same condition. Erythematous is caused when UV rays damage skin DNA, causing blood to flow and protect the damaged area, resulting in red skin.

Erythematous Caused by infection

When the skin or the subcutaneous layers immediately beneath the skin are exposed to a bacterial or viral infection, the body's natural defence mechanisms respond by increasing blood flow to the affected area, causing a reddening of the skin.

Erythematous Caused by allergies

Allergic reactions to external factors such as powdered laundry detergent can trigger erythematous. The irritants that cause the allergic reaction entice the body to increase blood flow to the skin area, which reddens and begins to itch as nerve endings in the skin respond to the allergic reaction. The condition worsens with scratching, which further damages the skin, prompting additional blood flow. Common signs of a skin allergy include bumps or lesions.

Erythematous Caused by Exfoliation, Electrolysis and Waxing

Exfoliation procedures and scrubbing compounds used to remove dead skin cells can trigger erythematous by irritating the skin to varying degrees. Similarly, waxing and electrolysis for hair removal can agitate sensitive skin and spur the body to react in an effort to protect the damaged area.

Erythematous Caused by Massage

Vigorous massage and some chiropractic procedures can bring about erythematous due to the heavy manipulation of the skin.

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About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.