Face rashes can come in all shapes and sizes, and not all of them are harmful or necessarily something to be concerned about. A face rash, can be here today and gone tomorrow.

Face rashes are usually caused by something, whether it’s an allergic reaction to new clothes, an outbreak of acne, or an insect bite. Some face rashes can also be caused by STIs.

If you have a face rash and you’re concerned about whether it may be caused by an STI, keep reading to find out more about what may have caused it.

Face rashes can be caused by STIs. If you think you may have an infection, get tested today.

What is an STI?

STIs are infections transmitted from person to person through sexual contact. Sexual contact can include vaginal, anal, and oral sex, but can also include certain types of foreplay, like fingering and hand jobs.

However, some STIs can be transmitted in other ways, like through kissing, blood transfusions, sharing needles, and more.

While many STIs can cause some serious health complications if left untreated, most are curable, and others can be treated with the right medication and care.

There’s a lot of stigma around STIs, but getting an STI is no different from getting any other infection. What’s important is to identify what may be causing it and get it treated so you can lead a happy, healthy life.

What counts as a face rash?

Face rashes can vary depending on the underlying cause. Face rashes tend to include:

  • Changes in colour: This is one of the most common symptoms of a face rash. When you have a rash, the skin tends to change colour, varying in shade depending on the condition. The skin can appear red, dusky, brown or some other colour depending on your skin tone.
  • Changes in texture and consistency: When you get a rash, the texture of the skin can change. Depending on the condition, the skin may become dry and flaky, leading to a scaly appearance, or it could become wet and oily.
  • Itching: Itching is a common symptom of many types of rashes. Itching sensations can range from mild irritation to severe sensations of itching that can’t be relieved.
  • Pain: Some rashes can cause discomfort or pain.
  • Bumps: Rashes can cause small bumps to form on the skin. These bumps may be filled with fluid or they may be solid.

Remember, these symptoms can occur alone or in combination and vary in intensity.

What STI can cause a face rash?

When most people think of getting an STI, they think about symptoms that affect the genitals. And while that’s often the case, some STIs can also cause a face rash.

Here are some STIs that can cause them.


Both Oral and Genital Herpes can cause fluid-filled blisters to appear on the face.

Herpes Simplex Type 1, the Herpes virus that usually causes Oral Herpes, is usually contracted through kissing someone who has an outbreak of blisters in and around their mouth. An outbreak of HSV 1 can cause blemishes, fluid-filled blisters, sores, and redness around the mouth. While these symptoms are not technically classified as a rash, many people could easily mistake them for a rash.

Herpes Simplex Type 2, the virus that tends to cause Genital Herpes, can also appear on the face. This usually happens when you perform oral sex on someone who has an active Genital Herpes outbreak. The virus then infects the area around the mouth, which can lead to blisters and sores around the mouth, like with Oral Herpes.

Get tested for Herpes in the privacy of your own home with Better2Know’s Home Test Kit.


The secondary stage of Syphilis can occur four to eight weeks after the primary stage, and can sometimes be accompanied by a rash. The rash tends to occur in 90% of people whose Syphilis reaches the secondary stage.

The rash often appears on the chest, stomach, pelvis, and back, and can sometimes develop on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. The rash may appear rough, red, or reddish-brown. In some cases, it can be so faint that it’s hard to see. The rash may also appear with papules or plaques.

The texture of the rash might feel rough to the touch. Unlike many other rashes, a Syphilis rash is usually not itchy. The rash can last for about two to six weeks.

The rash can also develop alongside other symptoms. These can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Hair loss
  • Fever


A Gonorrhoea rash is a rare but serious symptom of a disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI). DGI occurs when the bacteria that cause a Gonorrhoea infection get into the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. DGI occurs in around 3% of people with Gonorrhoea, but a rash occurs in 75% of people with DGI.

The rash can appear as small red spots or develop into larger fluid-filled blisters. It can present with several different kinds of lesions or spots, including:

  • Petechiae: Tiny red spots that appear when bleeding occurs under the skin.
  • Macules: Flat spots on the skin that differ in colour from the surrounding area.
  • Papules: Raised, firm spots that can appear in various sizes and colours.
  • Pustules: Small, inflamed bumps filled with pus resembling a pimple.
  • Vesicles: Small blisters filled with fluid that are often itchy.
  • Bullae: Larger blisters filled with fluid that can extend deeper into the skin.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can also cause a rash. This rash typically appears within the first two months after contracting the virus. It’s a common symptom that can occur in both the early and later stages of HIV infection.

Many different types of rash can present with HIV:

  • Seborrheic dermatitis: This rash tends to occur in the acute stage of HIV and is characterised by redness, dandruff, and yellow, greasy scales. Seborrheic Dermatitis tends to occur on areas of the skin with sebaceous glands (oil glands), like the scalp.
  • Eosinophilic folliculitis: This rash is characterised by itchy, red bumps centred on the hair follicles on the upper body and head. This type of rash tends to occur in the later stages of HIV.
  • Prurigo nodularis: This rash is characterised by lumps on the skin that are itchy and look like scabs, mostly on the legs and arms. This type of rash affects people with extremely compromised immune systems.
  • Papular pruritic rash: This rash is characterised by itching papules on the arms, legs, face, and trunk.

It is important to note that this is just a short list, and many other types of rash can occur during an HIV infection.

If you’re concerned about HIV, get tested at home with one of Better2Know’s Home Test Kits.


Scabies is a skin condition caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. These mites burrow into the skin, causing an intensely itchy rash. The rash presents with red papules, occasionally vesicles and pustules. The itching is often worse at night.

The rash can appear anywhere on the body. In some cases, it can also affect the face. The rash tends to appear with small papules that can vary in colour depending on skin tone. These papules can also be accompanied by:

  • Excoriations
  • Linear scratch marks
  • Crusting (hyperkeratosis as seen in crusted scabies)

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What else can cause a face rash?

There are several other conditions that can cause a facial rash.

Autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases like lupus or bullous pemphigoid are known to affect the skin. Their associated rashes can occur with flares or be the first noticeable symptoms. Sudden blistering may be a sign of bullous pemphigoid.


Allergic reactions to substances such as certain foods, medications, or environmental factors can cause a rash on the face.


Dermatitis is a general term for inflammation of the skin. It can be caused by contact with irritants or allergens, or it can be a symptom of conditions like eczema or psoriasis.


Acne is a common skin condition that causes spots, oily skin, and sometimes skin that’s hot or painful to touch.


This is a long-term skin condition that mainly affects the face. Symptoms include redness, pimples, swelling, and superficial dilated blood vessels.

Final thoughts

Face rashes can be concerning, but they most often indicate conditions that are eminently treatable.

If you think you may have a face rash caused by an STI, you can get tested with Better2Know today. Call the number at the top of this page to speak to one of our trained Sexual Health Advisors, or click the button below to start your own online booking process.

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