Leg Pigmentation

Are you worried about your skin pigmentation?

Coastal Vascular Center offers skin pigmentation and discoloration treatment.

Leg PigmentationHave you noticed any recent changes in skin tone, color or texture on your legs or ankles?
If so, you may have an underlying vein disease caused by poor circulation to the legs. One symptom of vein disease is skin discoloration, and you are not alone, skin disease is more prevalent than you may realize. Millions of Americans suffer from a form of skin disease.

Leg pigmentation changes can also be a sign of leg edema due to fluid retention, inflammation from leg ulcers, trauma to legs, and obesity. Sometimes skin color changes are caused by normal aging process or temporary factors such as exposure to sunburn and severe weather.

What is venous insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency is a condition that occurs when one-way valves in the veins weaken and allow blood to leak. This leads to increased pressure on the inside of veins, which weakens them even more throughout your legs and feet as they cannot push back flow efficiently.

What are the skin symptoms of venous insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency can impact the skin on the legs, ankles and feet in various ways and may cause the following symptoms:

  • Red, brown or purple skin
  • Irritated or inflamed skin
  • Painful, leathery, hard skin
  • Dry, scaly or crusty skin that may ooze fluid
  • Skin ulcers or open sores
  • Cellulitis, a bacterial infection of the skin, can occur

Skin leg discoloration can be yellow, white or brownish in appearance. Some leg conditions cause skin pigmentation changes throughout the leg while others only affect a specific leg area.

Leg pigmentation may appear as diffuse color that covers most of the leg or it may confined to a small patch on the leg. Sometimes, skin discoloration appears and disappears along with other symptoms such as itching and irritation of legs. In some cases leg pigmentation can be accompanied by bumps (small papules) that are normally painful when touched. If you have noticed any recent change in your skin tone, color or texture on your legs or ankles , you need to determine whether this is due to normal aging process, temporary factor such as exposure to the sun, or a vascular issue.

Skin Conditions Resulting from Venous Insufficiency

We typically see the following skin conditions in patients with venous insufficiency:

Venous Stasis Dermatitis

Also called venous eczema, this skin condition occurs most often in the lower legs. Diseased veins are unable to efficiently circulate blood, causing a build-up of blood and pressure within the veins. This often affects the lower extremities: the legs, ankles, and feet.

Venous stasis dermatitis can occur even if there are no visible varicose veins and is typically prevalent in people older than 50 years of age. It may also be a symptom of another vein disease called Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI).

Hemosiderin Deposits

Hemosiderin is caused when the iron in red blood cells is broken down. When blood pools in the lower extremities, iron collects in the skin. As the iron breaks down, these deposits can appear as purple or brown bruises on the lower legs, ankles and feet.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins happen when blood collects in the veins. They can look like purple and swollen worms under the skin. Varicose veins can also cause discoloration on your skin if blood from the vein leaks into your tissue.

Spider Veins

These small, thin veins appear close to the surface of the skin, are red, purple or blue and branch out like a lightning strike. While spider veins are usually painless, they are noticeable and can significantly discolor the skin.

Skin Ulcers 

Poor circulation can cause open wounds that are hard to heal. It starts on the surface of your skin around your ankles, and it is slow to heal.

What Should I Do About Skin Discoloration?

You need to find out what is wrong with your skin in order to get a diagnosis. To do that, you need to go to the doctor and tell them everything. You also need to make lifestyle changes so that the discoloration does not get worse.

The following are good habits to implement along with any treatment suggested by a vascular surgeon:

  • Make exercise a regular part of your routine, especially if you don’t engage in any other physical activity.
  • If your job has you standing or sitting in one place for a prolonged period, take breaks and move around every hour.
  • Compression stockings can help prevent vein disorders.
  • Avoid wearing clothes that restrict your blood flow.
  • Avoid using products that contain harsh chemicals that can irritate your skin easily.

If the skin on your legs looks different, feels unusual or has you concerned, it is best to be evaluated by a vein specialist. The longer your symptoms go untreated, the more difficult they become to treat. Don’t wait any longer. Call the Coastal Vascular Center today at 713-999-6056 to schedule an appointment today.

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