Actinic Purpura

Actinic purpura is a skin condition in which small purple splotches or bruises form on the forearms and hands.

What is actinic purpura?

Actinic purpura is a skin condition in which small purple splotches or bruises form on the forearms and hands. This condition is also referred to as solar purpura and Bateman’s purpura. The bruises start as flat, red blotches. Over time, they turn purple and darken a bit further before fading away. Actinic purpura differs from normal bruises in several ways. First, they are not usually caused by a knock or injury. They are also not tender and last much longer than normal bruises, often multiple weeks.

What causes actinic purpura?

Aging and sun damage causes this condition. It is also more common when a patient is on blood thinners or steroid medication. Minor trauma to the skin, such as scratching or poking, causes fragile blood vessels to tear under the skin and cause these discolorations.

How is it treated?

Moisturizers may keep the skin more supple and trauma-resistant. Avoid soaps that strip protective oils on the skin surface. Minimize use of topical steroids (such as hydrocortisone) on areas of thin skin.

If you are currently taking bloodthinning medication, you may need to talk to your physician about safely lowering the dosage. A daily application of alpha-hydroxy acid cream or tretinoin cream will increase your skin thickness and limit the bruising. At Boise Dermatology & Medspa, we can also use non-invasive laser treatments to rejuvenate skin. Schedule a consultation today if you are interested in non-surgical aesthetic treatments for amazing skin.

Request a consultation in Meridian, Idaho

Actinic purpura is harmless and will go away without treatment. But if you do have a concern that you would like to get checked out, schedule a consultation at Boise Dermatology & Medspa in Meridian. Dr. Naomi Brooks is a board-certified dermatologist who aims to keep her patients as healthy and informed as possible. If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Brooks, request an appointment online or give us a call at (208) 888-0660.


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