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Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.

What is Capillaritis?

This is a medical term, not a medical condition that is used to describe a type of skin disorder that is very common. Capillaritis is also called pigmented purpura. It is not a harmful condition but it can cause a person who has this skin disorder to feel insecure and embarrassed because of the way it makes you look. Capillaritis normally appears in the leg but it can sometimes appear on your upper extremities and trunk but is never present on your face. There are many different types of capillaritis. This skin disorder is normally found in people who work in occupations that require them to stand for long extended periods of time. This skin disorder is usually life-long and intermittently will flare up. Capillaritis can happen to any gender, race, or age but is more prominent in adults. The most common type of capillaritis is called Schamberg’s disease, which is referred to as progressive pigmented purpura.

Capillaritis Symptoms

Because there are many different kinds of capillaritis there can be a variance of symptoms but in all types there is one common symptom and that is the color of the lesion.

  • In people with dark skin the lesion can be deeply pigmented with pepper-like petechiae, or a red-brown color.
  • In people with light skin the lesion can be cayenne pepper-colored petechiae in color.

Petechiae are pinpoint-like hemorrhages. There can be color variations in the lesion because of the different stages of hemosiderin, which is the re-absorption of the blood breakdown product. In some cases a person may have burning, inflammation, or itching. Sometime there are no symptoms at all other than the lesions and usually the lesions are non-blanching. The symptoms will usually disappear within a few days but may take weeks.

Capillaritis Causes

The cause of capillaritis could be because of a leakage of the small blood vessels which are called capillaries but in many cases there is no exact cause known. When there is a leakage of blood the capillaries become inflamed when the blood passes through the little gaps that occur between the cells that are making up the capillary wall. There are other factors that can cause capillaritis such as:

  • Sensitivities or allergies to certain foods or environmental contaminants.
  • Viral infections.
  • Using certain medication such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin, Tylenol, or ibuprofen.
  • Having a skin hypersensitivity reaction.
  • Standing for long periods of time.
  • Inflammation of the superficial capillaries just beneath your skin.
  • Excessive exercise which can cause capillaritis mainly in your lower legs or ankles and during warm weather may increase in frequency.

In some types of capillaritis can become worse after doing strenuous activity. .

Capillaritis Treatment

Treating capillaritis is often not necessary because it will eventually go away on its own. Maintaining a healthy diet and using topical steroid creams are sometimes helpful. Before starting any home treatment you should consult with your dermatologist. There is no cure for capillaritis that is known at this time. There are some symptoms that are associated with capillaritis that may be managed by using prescription or over-the-counter medications. If capillaritis is causing itchiness you could apply steroid ointments to help control this problem but it will not shorten the course of the capillaritis outbreak. Since capillaritis normally affects your legs, especially the lower portion, wearing compression stocking may help with some the symptoms you are experiencing. If the outbreak is caused by food sensitivities or allergies you may need to start an elimination diet to find the food(s) that is causing the breakouts.

If is a prescription medication is the cause your physician may suggest stopping the medication temporarily to see if the outbreak will disappear.

Capillaritis Pictures

Pictures, Photos and Images collection of the condition Capillaritis…

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