health care  
Articles in skin conditions and diseases: Acne Actinic keratosis Albinism Basal cell nevus syndrome Bathing trunk nevus Birthmarks Cherry angioma Seborrheic keratosis Cutaneous skin tags Dermatitis Ehlers-Danlos syndrome Erythrasma Hives Ingrown toenails Keloid Keratosis pilaris Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome Leprosy Livedo reticularis Moles Mongolian blue spots Psoriasis Polymorphic light eruption Port wine stain Pyogenic granuloma Rosacea Scabies Scleroderma Sebaceous cysts Shingles Skin lesions Skin lesion of histoplasmosis Skin lesion of coccidioidomycosis Skin tags Smallpox Spider angioma Spider veins Superficial thrombophlebitis Tinea versicolor Urticaria pigmentosa Varicose veins Vitiligo Wegener's granulomatosis Xanthelasma and xanthoma

Livedo reticularis

Livedo reticularis is a blue-reddish skin discoloration and most often localized in the lower extremities. The pathological mechanism of this is poorly understood. Probably it is related to the peripheral blood flow redistribution. Livedo reticularis mostly represents an idiopathic condition but may be associated with systemic diseases.

Livedo reticularis is a disorder in which blood vessels are constricted, or narrowed. It results in mottled discoloring on large areas of the legs or arms. Livedo reticularis refers to a condition in which dilation of capillary blood vessels and stagnation of blood within these vessels causes mottled discolouration of the skin. It is described as being reticular (net-like) cyanotic (reddish blue discolouration) cutaneous discolouration surrounding pale central areas.

It occurs mostly on the legs, arms and trunk and is more pronounced in cold weather. The mottled look seen in a person with livedo reticularis occurs when some of the blood vessels feeding the skin go into spasm. Symptoms of livedo reticularis include a mottled, or lace-like, appearance of reddish blue areas on the skin. The mottling is more apparent on the thighs and forearms, and sometimes the lower abdomen. The appearance is due to altered flow in small blood vessels feeding the upper skin so that other vessels dilate to compensate. This can arise for a variety of reasons.

Cutis marmorata causes temporary livedo in about 50% of normal infants and many adults when exposed to the cold and is a physiological response to cold. It is more intense and persistent in conditions associated with debility and other factors that cause stasis within blood vessels. The mottling is diffuse, temporary, mild and usually symptomless. Cutis marmorata telangiectatica congenita is a rare condition in which the livedo is present at birth or soon after. There may be other congenital abnormalities including neurological and intellectual problems, and it can be familial. The livedo is usually severe but may improve with age.

Idiopathic livedo reticularis (i.e. cause unknown) occurs most commonly in young and middle-aged females, particularly during winter. Mottling occurs first only on exposure to cold but can become permanent. Tingling and numbness on cold exposure are common. Sometimes swelling, and rarely ulcers may develop in winter. In another less common variant, swelling of the feet and ankles and ulceration occurs in the spring and summer months. Sneddon's syndrome is a form of idiopathic livedo reticularis with systemic involvement i.e. internal blood vessels are affected, most commonly in the brain, eye and heart.

There is no treatment for livedo reticularis. Rewarming the area in idiopathic cases or treatment of the underlying cause of secondary livedo may reverse the discolouration. However, over time the vessels become permanently dilated and livedo reticularis becomes permanent regardless of the surrounding temperature.

Skin care Mainpage

Recommended skin care products

ClearSkin Skin Wash
Natural skin wash with herbal ingredients for skin health and nourishment. A 100% natural, safe and proven herbal wash that cleanses skin thoroughly without drying or flaking.

Age-defense Active Day Cream
Age-defense active day cream contains ingredients specially chosen for their ability to reverse the visible signs of aging skin. Your skin will become softer, smoother and younger-looking!

Deep Active Cleansing Mask
Deep active cleansing mask is specially formulated for all skin types and gives your skin an extra deep cleansing treatment to remove toxins. Your skin will feel fresh and glowing.

Featured skin topics

Spider veins
Varicose veins
Dry skin (xerosis)
Age spots
Facial skin care
Dry skin care
Oily skin care
Skin whitening
Asian skin care
Black skin care
Organic skin care
Skin resurfacing
Face Lift
Skin care tips
Skin care recipes
Natural skin care

All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005