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What Causes Blotchy Skin on Legs

Updated on March 9, 2016

Put an End to the Blotchy Skin on Your Legs

Blotchy skin on your legs can come in several different forms and can have a variety of causes. In order to find out what is causing your legs to have blotchy skin you must first take inventory of all your symptoms. Ask yourself:

  • Is the condition new?
  • Does it itch?
  • Have you used any new hygiene products or medications?
  • What color are the blotches?

Blotchiness could come from poor circulation or from many sorts of rashes. However some people experience leg skin blotchiness as a normal part of aging.

Do you have blotchy skin on your legs?
Do you have blotchy skin on your legs?

Is the Condition New? Does It Itch?

The first thing to understand is that if this condition is not new to you and is not causing any discomfort, then there is nothing that can or should be done. No medication can relieve normal skin blotchiness on legs.

However, if this condition is a recent development that's causing any level of discomfort, then you should investigate further.

Have You Used Any New Hygiene Products or Medications?

New hygiene products, such as detergents ands soaps, can cause blotchy skin and rashes. They can do this in two ways:

  1. By stripping the skin of its natural oils, drying and irritating the skin and making it easier for bacteria to colonize.
  2. By causing an allergic reaction, which often appears after some delay. Allergic reactions usually are caused by fragrances and preservatives in the soaps, although other ingredients known to trigger allergies include benzyl alcohol, stearyl or isostearyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, myristyl alcohol, propylene glycol, paragons, and benzolkonium chloride.

Medications can also cause blotch skin. Many people who show no side effects at first from a medicine will experience them as time goes on and the medication builds up in the system. If you feel your blotchy legs could be a reaction to longterm medication, you should consult your doctor immediately so he or she can adjust the dosage and confirm whether your medicine is causing the rash.

Common medicines that can cause rashes include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Penicillins
  • Barbiturates

What Color Are the Blotches?

The first clue as to the cause of the blotches is to determine their color.

Blue

If they are blue, then that may be a sign you may have poor circulation, especially if there are other symptoms like numbness.

Red

If the blotchy area is red, then it is more than likely a dermatitis issue that has arisen from:

  • Medication
  • An allergic reaction, possibly to urushiol oil, contained in a plant such as poison ivy and poison oak
  • An auto-immune disorder like psoriasis

A rash caused by a plant containing urushiol oil is fairly easy to identify. The blotchy areas will bubble and be extremely itchy (see the photo below). You can use over-the-counter itch cream to reduce the itchiness. The one medication that works for poison ivy is prednisone, which is often a last resort for doctors since it can have harsh side effects. To avoid poison ivy rashes and poison oak in the future, wash your skin within 30 minutes of contact to remove the urishiol oils.

Urushiol-induced dermatitis
Urushiol-induced dermatitis | Source

Purple

Purple spots that don't turn white with pressure maybe be purpura, a condition caused by bleeding underneath the skin. See a doctor if this is the case—it may be a reaction to a medication, such as an anticoagulant or diuretic, or it may be caused by another condition.

Purpura
Purpura | Source

Other Causes

If you suspect you have psoriasis, you should also consult your doctor. Psoriasis is a condition where the body’s immune system attacks itself and requires medication to control. Psoriasis is accompanied by blotchy, itchy skin that flakes off the body.

In minor cases, your blotchy skin could be caused by very dry weather. If your skin feels dry and not overly itchy or flaky, try natural moisturizers with no perfumes.

Closing Thoughts

There are many causes for blotchy skin on your legs. If you think you need to see a doctor, the most helpful thin you can do is to write down as much information about your condition as you can. Start with when the condition started and what you have tried to alleviate it. The more information the doctor has, the faster he or she can help you.

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    • profile image

      I have blotchy skin on my legs, had it for years, I do not take any medication, I just figured it might be poor circulation, also it occurs if its a little cool, I moisturize, so my legs are not dry,  2 years ago

      rene

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      Alex c 2 years ago

      Im only 13 and i do have blotchy legs but ive always wondered what it meant and what was happening . This article helped tons. I think i will consult a doctor because ive been taking certain meds over long peeiods of time where i didn't have the blotchy legs at first

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