What causes red spots on the human torso?

Updated July 19, 2017

Red spots on the torso are known as a rash. A rash is a local or widespread outbreak of bumps on the skin. The bumps are caused by either a viral infection or an allergic reaction to a certain substance.

Viral Rash

Viral rashes appear on the torso and face as red, solid spots, as seen with measles, or as red, fluid-filled blisters, as found with chickenpox. At first, they are highly contagious but then vanish within weeks.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis (eczema) is an inflammation of the skin that causes itchy, red spots over the entire torso due to an allergic reaction to certain foods, soaps, and detergents.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a spotted rash that is caused by touching or coming in contact with a specific material that irritates the skin, such as poison ivy or poison oak.

Allergic Drug Rash

An allergic drug rash, also known as allergic purpura, occurs after taking antibiotics, such as penicillin and erythromycin. The rash first appears as red spots on the torso but then turns purple before disappearing.


Hives are itchy, spotted rashes that are triggered by an allergic reaction to pollen, animal dander, and shellfish.

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About the Author

Mindy Schwartz is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to eHow and Answerbag. She has also been a copywriter for more than five years. Her product ad copy has been featured in several trade, online, and local publications, such as GiftWare News,, Woman's World, and The NH Mirror.