4 Things You Need To Know About Stasis Dermatitis

There are many skin conditions that can lead to discoloration of your skin. One common cause for discoloration is stasis dermatitis. Here are four things you need to know about this condition.

What causes it?

Stasis dermatitis is caused by inadequate blood flow to your extremities. Inadequate blood flow can have many causes, such as damage to the veins and arteries, blood clots, past vein surgeries, or traumatic injuries to the area.

The lack of blood flow damages the skin. The exact way this happens is a bit complicated, but basically, your skin cells don't receive enough oxygen and end up getting damaged. This damage manifests itself as the discoloration and itching associated with stasis dermatitis.

What are the signs of this condition?

People with stasis dermatitis have discolored skin on their lower extremities such as their feet, ankles, and lower legs. This skin will be reddish-brown and may look like a cluster of freckles. The affected area may be itchy or swollen. If you notice these signs, see your dermatologist right away. Your dermatologist will diagnose this condition by looking at your skin and by asking questions about your medical history.

What treatments are available?

You may need to wear compression stockings to help reduce swelling and improve the circulation in your lower legs. Your dermatologist may also recommend elevating your feet and legs above your heart. This is usually done for 15 minutes once every two hours, but your dermatologist may recommend a different schedule.

Your dermatologist can help ease the symptoms of stasis dermatitis in a few different ways. You may be given a corticosteroid or calcineurin cream to rub on the affected skin to control the swelling, discoloration, and pain. If your skin is itchy, your dermatologist may prescribe an antihistamine, a medication that controls allergic reactions. Your dermatologist may also recommend moisturizing the affected skin a few times a day to keep it from getting dry and itchy.

Is it common?

Stasis dermatitis is a common condition. Studies have shown that it affects about 6-7% of people who are more than 50 years old. That may not sound like much, but that works out to between 15 and 20 million Americans. It is slightly more common among women than in men.

Stasis dermatitis is a common skin condition that is caused by poor circulation in the lower extremities. If you notice dark, itchy skin on your legs or ankles, see your dermatologist, like those at Dermatology Associates, right away for diagnosis and treatment.