There are many skin conditions and other health conditions that may cause a forehead rash. Some require medical treatment.

You may notice redness, bumps, or other irritation on your forehead. This skin rash could be caused by many conditions. You’ll need to monitor your symptoms to determine what’s causing your rash in order to treat it. Some forehead rashes require medical treatment.

Many conditions can cause a forehead rash, so you may find yourself with one or more of the following symptoms on your skin:

  • redness
  • bumps
  • lesions
  • blisters
  • itching
  • flaking
  • scaling
  • swelling
  • oozing
  • bleeding

Additionally, you may experience other symptoms unrelated to your forehead rash. These may include flu-like symptoms.

Infections and viruses

An infection or virus may be the source of your forehead rash. These cases will likely require a doctor’s visit to diagnose and treat the rash.

Bacterial staphylococcal

This type of infection may be more commonly known as a staph infection. It’s caused by bacteria that lives on your skin. It’s the most common type of skin infection in the United States.

You’ll likely contract a staph infection through a break in your skin. Some staph infections appear as just a pimple or lesion that looks inflamed and irritated.

A serious type of staph infection is known as MRSA. A staph infection requires the attention of a doctor.


Visible signs of chickenpox are an itchy rash, blisters, and blotchy skin. The blisters are liquid-filled. They break open and scab over.

You’ll likely have other symptoms because of this virus, such as fever, fatigue, and headache. The condition is contagious for up to a week after the skin rash first appears.


A rash caused by measles will occur several days after you begin to notice other symptoms such as:

  • a high fever
  • red and watery eyes
  • a runny nose

You may also have a cough and spots inside your mouth.

The red bumpy rash that follows these symptoms a few days later will begin at your hairline and forehead. The rash will spread down your body and fade after a few days.


Impetigo is a form of Group A Streptococcus infection. You may also refer to this as strep. You may think of strep throat, but you can also get strep on your skin.

Impetigo appears as itchy, small red spots that may group on the face. The spots will eventually break open and ooze. This stage is contagious if someone else touches the area. Eventually the spots will crust over and appear yellowish in color.

This infection is common in warm-weather months.


Folliculitis occurs when a hair follicle becomes infected or irritated. The resulting rash can be red, bumpy, and itchy.

You can contract folliculitis from:

  • a staph infection
  • bacteria in hot water (such as a hot tub)
  • an overgrowth of yeast bacteria on your skin
  • an irritation after shaving
  • having a suppressed immune system


This fungal infection appears as a circular, or ringed, rash. The red, scaly, and itchy rash may start small and expand in rings as it spreads on your forehead. This condition can be spread to others.

You may get ringworm on your forehead by sharing a pillow or a hat with someone who has the condition.


Shingles begins as a painful, burning sensation and develops with areas of small blisters after a few days. The blisters will burst and crust over with time.

You may have this rash in the end stage for up to a month. This condition is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, which lives on your body as an inactive virus for years.


Your forehead rash may be the result of an allergic reaction. There are several types of allergic reactions that can affect the skin.

Contact dermatitis

This rash is the result of your skin coming into contact with a substance to which it’s allergic. Contact dermatitis can appear as a rash on the forehead that’s

  • red
  • dry
  • cracked
  • stiff
  • blistered
  • weeping
  • burning
  • itchy
  • painful.

It can also look like hives.

You may be more susceptible to contact dermatitis on your forehead because it comes into contact with many cleansers, soaps, makeup, shampoos, and other products for your hair and face that contain irritating chemicals and other substances.

Atopic dermatitis (eczema)

Another type of allergic rash is atopic dermatitis, or eczema. This rash can appear as red, dry, and itchy. It generally occurs in patches on the skin.

You cannot cure eczema. It’s a chronic condition. You’ll notice that it comes and goes and may get worse when exposed to a trigger, such as cold and dry weather.


Autoimmune conditions occur because of an overreaction of the immune system. They result in a variety of symptoms. Some autoimmune systems manifest as rashes, such as psoriasis.

This chronic autoimmune condition appears in many forms, but often looks red, scaly, and patchy on the skin. The rashes caused by psoriasis come and go on the body and may be triggered by certain environmental factors like stress.

Other skin conditions


Acne is a very common skin condition, affecting 40 to 50 million people in the United States at any given time.

Acne is caused by clogged pores and can become infected if bacteria enters the pores. This condition can appear red and inflamed if the infection is under the skin, or may look like nodules or lesions on the skin.


You may experience itching and flaking skin on the forehead because of dandruff. This occurs when there’s an abundance of yeast on your skin or when your scalp is irritated by a chemical or excess oil in the skin.


This is a chronic condition that can cause redness on the face, as well as bumps. It occurs when your body sends more blood to the skin’s surface.

You may experience a rash from rosacea because of triggers like alcohol, certain foods, sun, and stress. Women, those with fair skin, and those who are middle-aged are most susceptible to this condition.

Other causes

Heat rash, sweat rash, and sunburn

Your forehead rash may be the result of exposure to heat, sweat, or the sun. You may have bumps and blisters that are red or pink, or your skin may appear red or pink in color.

Heat rash can occur because of humidity or overdressing. You may get a heat rash or sweat rash if you were exercising or in hot and humid weather while wearing a hat or headband.

You’re susceptible to sunburn if you expose your bare skin to the sun without sunscreen and protective clothing.


It’s possible that your forehead rash is due to stress. Stress can trigger other conditions that may cause the rash, or the rash may be your body’s response to the stress.

Medications and drug allergies

You may experience a forehead rash because of medications you’re taking or because of drug use. You may notice a rash a few days after starting a new medication or if you’ve been exposed to the sun while taking a photosensitive medication.

This rash may look like a few blotchy spots to begin with and spread over time.


A spotted rash on your forehead or other parts of your body that is purple, pink, or light red accompanied by flu-like symptoms, a stiff neck, and a headache may be the sign of a very serious infection called meningitis.


Meningitis should be treated immediately by a doctor.

Stevens-Johnson syndrome

A rare cause of a skin rash that can occur on your forehead and other parts of your body is Stevens-Johnson syndrome. This will appear as a red or purple rash and be accompanied by other flu-like symptoms. You need immediate medical care with this condition.

Rashes on forehead in babies

Forehead rashes in babies are likely related to one of the causes listed above. You should contact your child’s doctor if your baby develops a forehead rash for prompt diagnosis and treatment.

The doctor will examine your child and ask about other symptoms. Some concerning symptoms that may accompany the rash may include diarrhea, fever, and blistered skin.

Rashes on forehead alongside HIV

You may experience a forehead rash if you have HIV. You may experience an HIV rash early in the course of infection or at any other time.

Rash is one of the most prevalent side effects of HIV medication. You may also be more susceptible to a forehead rash from one of the causes listed above because your immune system is compromised. See a doctor about your forehead rash if you have HIV.

Rashes on forehead during pregnancy

You may experience a range of changes to your skin during pregnancy that may result in a rash on your forehead. Hormone changes can result in a darkening of the skin (called melisma), as well as acne. After pregnancy, your skin should return to normal.

One concerning skin-related condition of pregnancy is cholestasis of pregnancy. This is when your increased hormones interfere with the bile in your gallbladder.

Cholestasis can result in very itchy skin and can pop up on any part of your body, especially your hands and feet. You need to see a doctor immediately if this occurs.

You may decide to seek the diagnosis of a doctor if your forehead rash is severe, persists, or is accompanied by other symptoms. The doctor will look at your physical symptoms, discuss any other symptoms with you, and may order tests to determine the cause of the rash.

Some treatments for certain forehead rashes include:

  • Infections or fungi. May need prescription antibiotics or antifungal medications.
  • Chronic conditions like atopic dermatitis, rosacea, and psoriasis. Avoid triggers.
  • Contact dermatitis. Avoid products or substances that cause irritation.
  • Heat rash, sunburn, and photosensitive medications. Protect your skin from sun exposure.
  • Acne and other skin conditions. Use topical creams or medications recommended for the specific condition.

Consult a doctor before treating any forehead rash to make sure you’re using the right methods to alleviate the symptoms.

See a doctor if you suspect your rash is a symptom of a more serious condition. Other reasons to see a doctor include if the rash:

  • spreads
  • is painful
  • is accompanied by a fever or flu-like symptoms
  • blisters
  • appears infected

Also see a doctor if the rash persists for a prolonged period of time.

Many skin conditions and other health conditions may cause a forehead rash. To reduce the symptoms of your rash, see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.