Easy bruising: Common as you age
Find out what causes easy bruising as you age and when you should discuss your bruises with your doctor.
By Mayo Clinic staff
Yet another bruise. What caused that dark, unsightly mark on your leg? You don't recall bumping into anything. But lately you've been bruising much more often than you used to. Should you be concerned?
It's common to experience easy bruising with increasing age, and most bruises go away without treatment. Still, easy bruising can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem.
Age-related causes of easy bruising in older adults
Most bruises form when small blood vessels (capillaries) near your skin's surface are broken by the impact of a blow or injury. When this happens, blood leaks out of the vessels and initially appears as a bright or dark red, purple or black mark. Eventually your body reabsorbs the blood, and the mark usually disappears.
Some people — especially women — are more prone to bruising than are others. As you get older, several factors may contribute to increased bruising, including:
Aging capillaries. Over time, the tissues supporting these vessels weaken, and capillary walls become more fragile and prone to rupture.
Thinning skin. With age, your skin becomes thinner and loses some of the protective fatty layer that helps cushion your blood vessels against injury. Excessive exposure to the sun accelerates the aging process in the skin.