Pimples: rashes like pimples or hives and the reason for their appearance?

Pimples: rashes like pimples or hives and the reason for their appearance?
Photo source: Getty images

They are a symptom of an allergic reaction to food, drugs or other substances. They are known professionally as urticaria. Of course, they can also be caused by illness or weakened immunity. They often occur during stress and mental overload.

A pimple is a skin rash resembling the appearance of a nettle burn.

The pimple may be paler red, pink in the middle and with redness around the area.

It is raised above the surrounding skin surface.

Itching is usually present. Sometimes the redness is present on the surrounding skin, sometimes on larger areas.

This symptom should never be underestimated, although it sometimes disappears on its own.

A pimple is caused by swelling of the skin around dilated blood vessels. The contents may leak into the surrounding tissue. Pimples occur in both men and women. Most commonly in childhood, when it is a manifestation of a disease called urticaria.

Histamine in particular leaks into the surrounding tissue from the vascular structure when pimples form. Histamine is involved in allergic reactions, but also in inflammation.

It regulates microcirculation and other physiological processes that are not fully understood.

In addition to histamine, for example:

  • serotonin
  • bradykinin
  • Basophils
  • prostaglandins and other substances

Pimples like urticaria

Most often, urticarial pimples can be found on the skin as a result of urticaria, also known as urticaria. This can be allergic, non-allergic, autoimmune or infectious.

The woman has hives on her back, so she's pointing her finger at it.
Skin changes in the form of urticaria on the back. Source: Getty Images

Urticaria can also be recognised by its symptoms:

  • pink to red in colour
  • well-defined
  • area, sometimes forming map-like areas
  • markedly itchy
  • in some cases a pale centre (central parts)

Sometimes cold, heat, sunlight, for example, can also be a triggering factor for pimples. There are some people who develop pimples on the skin of the body even without a clear identification of the exact cause.

There are several types of diseases that can trigger this symptom on the skin. It is either urticaria as a separate disease or an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction can result in anaphylactic shock, which is a strong immune response of the body.

Pimples and urticaria in an allergic reaction

The foods that most often trigger hives are citrus fruits, fish and seafood, strawberries, poppy seeds, nuts, hard and mould cheese, cocoa, chocolate, salami, tomatoes, spinach, bananas, figs, but also eggs, cereals, celery, dairy products or honey.

Some antibiotics, as well as bee stings, can also cause pimples to form. These are examples of when pimples form as an allergic reaction. In addition to pimples and the extent of the allergic reaction, swelling of the eyelids, lips, mucous membranes of the oral cavity, as well as the respiratory tract, can be associated.

A severe form of allergic reaction is the aforementioned anaphylactic reaction. There is also a risk of anaphylactic shock.

Man, leg, itching
One of the symptoms is unpleasant itching. Source: Getty Images

Symptoms include:

  • redness, urticaria, burning, itching
  • swelling, namely angioedema of the lips, palms, tongue
  • anxiety, restlessness
  • headache
  • tachycardia
  • low blood pressure
  • impaired breathing
  • feeling sick, vomiting

In severe anaphylactic shock, the following occurs:

  • airway constriction (bronchospasm) and marked difficulty in breathing
  • bluing of fingertips, lips (cyanosis)
  • impaired consciousness
  • circulatory and respiratory failure

Among medicines, penicillin, some painkillers, medicines containing salicylic acid, vitamins B1 and B2 and some painkillers are quite common triggers of this reaction. Quite often, some cosmetic products, perfumed soaps or detergents can also be responsible.

The skin reacts violently with the appearance of acute urticaria.

There are also specific forms of urticaria. These are urticaria vasculitis, urticaria pigmentosa and angioedema.

Other causes of pimples

In the autoimmune form, the trigger is most often thyroid disease.


Infectious urticaria and the appearance of urticarial pimples are caused by viruses (infectious mononucleosis, hepatitis B, helicobacter pylori), bacteria, yeasts, but also parasitic organisms. These are, for example, roupi or roundworms.

The treatment of these pimples consists in the application of specific solutions, topically. In the case of a larger occurrence, the doctor also applies antihistamines and other supportive substances. In this case, the treatment is aimed at suppressing the symptoms and relieving itching or other symptoms.

Pimples in the form of urticaria should not be confused with acne, which is a different type of rash. In acne, pimples (rashes) form on the skin of the face, neck, as well as on the back and buttocks.

Woman has acne on face, enlargement under magnifying glass
Acne on the face. Source: Getty Images

The cause of rashes on the buttocks is often inappropriate clothing, underwear, tight clothes, trousers. Especially if they are made of airless material. Another reason may be sweating of the skin during prolonged sitting.

Another case is if they arise on the tongue and in the throat. Then they are a symptom, for example, of a viral infection. In children, pimples in the mouth, on the lip, on the tongue, but also pimples in the throat are common. These can also be aphthae.

In sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes and HPV infections, rashes, pimples, warts, papillomas on the penis, glans, in women on the external genitalia and their surroundings may occur. Itching, pain, discharge even with the presence of blood, increased body temperature, enlargement of lymph nodes in the groin are associated.

Other causes of pimples and rashes include:

  • stress, anxiety, psychological stress
  • lack of hygiene
  • increased sweating
  • weakened immunity
  • diseases of the liver, pancreas and kidneys
  • diseases of the digestive system
  • inappropriate diet, violation of diet
  • metabolic disorders
  • endocrine diseases
  • syphilis

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