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Blood Spots Under the Skin

The sight of blood spots under the skin could be a bit scary for you, but actually, it is not a major health issue in most cases. Read this article to gather more information on this problem.
Bidisha Mukherjee
Last Updated: Mar 1, 2018
Some people tend to get bruises and blood spots more easily. That does not mean that they are suffering from any major health problem. It is commonly found in elderly people. The blood spots appear in areas like forearms, hands, legs and feet. Women are more susceptible to this problem as compared to men. The spots mostly show up on their thighs, arms and buttocks. Such spots have a natural tendency to spread from the upper part of the body to the lower side because of the gravity. A blood spot on the leg often takes longer time to disappear than those on the upper part of the body such as arms or face.
Types of Blood Spots
There are two different forms of blood spots under the skin. One is purpura which can be described as red or purple discoloration on the skin. Here, the size of the spots vary in between 0.3-1 cm. They appear as bleeding occurs under the skin, but is not because of any damage to the blood vessels. The other one is petechiae which are tiny flat spots that are red or purple in color and are less than 2 mm in size. This happens when the blood vessels are ruptured and the blood leaks out and gets into the surrounding tissues.
Causes of Bleeding Under the Skin
Spots of blood under the skin usually appear all of a sudden without any external injury. Following are the probable causes that trigger bleeding under the skin:
  • With aging, the fat layers under the skin become thin. As a result, the padding effect of the skin deteriorates. For this reason, in elderly people, even a minor injury on the skin can lead to the breakage of underlying blood vessels.
  • Health problems that affect blood clotting, like hemophilia, thrombocytopenia, or any other kinds of blood disorders, lupus, cirrhosis, certain forms of cancer like leukemia or multiple myeloma, and so on.
  • Any kind of infection that leads to accumulation of toxic substances in the blood or tissues.
  • Swelling in the blood vessels or vasculitis.
  • It may happen after taking medicines like aspirin and anticoagulants that cause thinning of blood.
  • In some people, it occurs due to hereditary reasons.
  • Malnutrition caused by deficiency of vitamins B12, C, K or folic acid.
  • In case the spots appear soon after an injury, and are accompanied by excessive swelling and pain, it could be due to a sprain or a fracture that requires immediate medical attention.
In most cases, blood spots disappear on their own and do not require any treatment. However, some home treatments can speed up the healing process.
  • Proper rest is very important to get rid of these spots fast.
  • If there is pain and swelling in the area, then application of ice pack can reduce both. Do not apply ice on them for more than 15 minutes at a time. After applying ice for 10-15 minutes, take a break for a few hours and then reapply it.
  • Try to keep the injury site in an elevated position, above the level of heart, in order to bring down the swelling faster.
  • In the first 3 days, avoid heat compression or hot bath as heat promotes swelling. Later on, you can apply heat and cold compression alternatively and it has been proved to be beneficial.
  • A gentle massage improves blood circulation in the affected area and heals up the damaged tissues. However, if rubbing of the area gives pain, you should avoid massaging.
Those who get blood spots quite frequently should stop drinking alcohol and avoid use of tobacco products. This is because alcohol may aggravate the swelling in the bruised spot and smoking delays repair work of the damaged tissues by restricting the blood supply to the injury site.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
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