Information On Capillary Fragility - Capillaritis, Purpura

Capillary is the smallest type of blood vessel in the vascular system. Capillaries connect the smallest arteries with the smallest veins; most are so narrow that only one blood cell can pass along them at a time. The capillary wall is the conduit for material passing from an artery to a vein. The function of capillaries is to carry oxygen-rich blood to the tissues, to pass food substances to tissue cells, and to carry away waste products, such as carbon dioxide.

Capillaritis is the name given to a harmless skin condition in which there are reddish-brown patches caused by leaky capillaries. It is also known as pigmented purpura.

Purpura is a skin discoloration caused by bleeding (hemorrhage) under the skin. A small hemorrhage is called a petechia and a large one, as in a bruise, is called an ecchymosis. Purpura may result from trauma, from fragility of the blood vessels, or from clotting disorders.

Fragility of the blood vessels usually is inherited, although it seldom is serious. In a more serious inherited form of the disorder, a condition known as telangiectasia, there are obvious abnormalities of the blood vessels in the lips, mouth, and fingers.

There is no known cure for most cases of capillaritis. It can disappear within a few weeks, recur from time to time, or frequently persist for years.

Consider if a medication could be the cause: discontinue it for several months to find out if the capillaritis improves. Try avoiding food preservatives and artificial coloring agents. Return to a normal diet if there is no improvement after several months. Topical steroids can be helpful for itching but rarely clear the capillaritis. If the lower leg is affected, consider wearing graduated compression elastic hose. Currently available lasers are not particularly helpful for this condition.

Prolonged treatment with drugs such as aspirin and cortisone may also result in purpura. Scurvy (caused by lack of vitamin C) is another disorder that causes purpura. A rare, but serious, cause of purpura is Henoch-Schenlein purpura, which may follow an upper respiratory tract infection that damages the blood vessels.

PCOs are believed to improve capillary stability, and are used for venous insufficiency, liver cirrhosis, diabetic retinopathy, postsurgical lymphedema, postoperative facial edema, sports injury related edema, repeated ecchymoses, and purpuric syndromes.

PCOs are a variety of flavonoid-like proanthocyanidins found in numerous plants. Some of the most abundant sources are grape seeds and maritime pine bark. Other food sources include hawthorn flowers, various berries, onions, legumes, red wine, and parsley, and related chemicals are found in bilberry. Collectively, they are known as procyanidolic oligomers. Recent in vitro studies suggest that grape seed PCOs possess superior antioxidant activity to vitamin C or vitamin E. This antioxidant effect occurs in both polar and nonpolar media, giving PCOs a certain functional similarity to lipoic acid. In Europe, PCOs are widely used to treat conditions believed to be related to increased capillary fragility. These include venous insufficiency (varicose veins and hemorrhoids), other unsightly superficial blood vessels, easy bruising, edema of various causes, and diabetic retinopathy. PCOs are also used for aging skin, Macular Degeneration, allergic rhinitis, and Atherosclerosis. Additionally, they are promoted as general antioxidants.

Discuss It!

Helen Bernat ·

why do i persistintly get this on my forearms after a mild abrasionn?

rachael ·

I get capillaritis in my lower legs. it happen's whenever I go in the sun. I wear sun cream but still appears. Why is that?

Natalie ·

I have had it on my left forearm for three years and now have it on the back of my right thigh. The dermatologist didn't know what it was and told me to use hydrocortisone but that didn't help at all. I called a new dermatologist and now have to wait 5 months till I can get an appointment so am searching the internet for my own answers. I am pregnant so am going to talk to my OB to make sure it's not something I need to be concerned about in regards to my pregnancy.

Vanessa ·

I have it all over my legs, between my thighs, on my abdomen and on the insides of my arms. Dr. did a biopsy of it, said it was capillaritis... but just said to take 2000 mg of vit. C and one aspirin a day to help thin my blood. Who knows if it will work!

imho ·

IF you have capillaritis, you may have capillary fragility. IF your capillaries are fragile, you might want to rethink aspirin. Aspirin is salicylic acid which breaks up the epidermis, including, I would think, the lining of capillaries.

Stasi ·

I have just been diagonsed by my dermatologist that I have capillaritis on most parts of my body, including forearms, inner thighs, lower back and torso. I have been using cortisone cream and I am on my 3rd repeat but it does not go away. I have had since 2006 since my dad past away. Does anyone have any suggestions on any proper treatment and how it came about in the first place? My next option is to see a naturopath this coming Friday.

Tom ·

I recently was diagnosed with Capillaritis. It usually occurs on the lower half of my body with some cases on my arms. I have been prescribed Flucinonide .05%. It has worked very well and knocked out all signs of it in about 1-2 weeks.

none Ya ·

I have A research project and I was wondering how much scapPilaties ate in our Body

lynne ·

Rutin vitiamin cured mine.

Abi ·

I found out I have this, I'm very concious about it as it is scattered all over my feet, legs, thighs and now arms, I'm only 19 and very conscious about it, any ideas what to get to help it clear up. Pleeeeeease!!

Random student ·

Questions you may want to consider: Has anyone in your family had anything like this before? If so consult your doctor and inquire about Marfans, Ehler's Danlos syndromes, Heriditary telangiectasia or Osler-weber-rendu syndrome. If there is no family history they are common when taking steroids (even corticosteroid creams could do it), low vitamin C intake, infections elsewhere or abnormal proteins. They also become more common as you age. If you have had any troubles with nosebleeds, black tar-like faeces, blood in faeces, really easy bruising, excessive bleeding at the dentists or heavy periods mention it to your GP. If you have capillaritis: medications you are already on, ertain preservaives and food colourings can enhance it. The cortisone cream will only ease or prevent itching, it won't usually get rid of the rash, it may fade with time though.

h mosch ·

is it allergic in nature

debbie ·

I have factor 5 Leiden I have a lot of scar tissue I have had a lot of veins Surgeries. I have had previous deep vein clots I am on blood thinners have major swelling all the time in major pain I use stockings and they don't work

Kevin ·

Its been interesting reading others experiences. Mine confirms that cortisone cream is good for relieving iching but rest seems the best way to get rid of the condition. Mine came back again after a period of central heating, tractor mower & car all breaking down at the same time. I wonder whether stress brings it on especially as stasi commented that he/she got it after father passed away. Cool showers are better than hot showers and Unguentum M cream helps by softening dry shin. Vitiliglow is a new skin camauflage cream but does not help the actual condition. The best I can do longer term is relax & chill.

Susie ·

45 years of steroids on psoriasis may cause fragile skin and capillaries.

Tone ·

I was diagnosed with it almost a year ago. Oral steroids helped, but as soon as I was done taking them, the capillaritis came back.

Renee ·

I've had this purpura on my feet/ankle area since I was about 14 yrs old. When in school it used to go and come. Once I didn't have any sign of it for 2 years. But now I've had it for the past 10 years with it being persistently there everyday. It seems to lighten up and not be so dark in color when I'm not on my feet, like when I wake up in the morning. This new dermatologist I went to recommended Rutin and some Vitamin C. We'll see if that works. It's such an eye sore. I really have to work up the courage to wear sandals in the summer. I've tried to camouflage it with makeup, but you can still see it.

joy, hello Renee ·

Did the routin work for you? I have it too for almost 8 years now come and go it was worst in the beginning and it disappear and its all coming again! Its really an eye sore and doctors cant say what is it! Please reply! Thank you!

Bee ·

Mine is clearing up after dermatologist said to add 500mg twice a day and also rut in 50mg twice a day(I was already taking rutin, but the vit c has made astounding difference in just a few days. I'm beginning g to wonder if doctors are missing the possibility of scurvy(vitamin c deficiency) diagnosis because in adult diets in USA it really should be rare. I wonder if our foods contain enough ascorbic acid anymore? The body does not store it. We need it every day.

Louise ·

I've had this capillaritis for about 1 yr. now & it has gotten progressively worse especially around my ankles. It is so unsightly, a bit itchy & almost frightening to look at. Going to a 3rd Dermatologist soon & hope & pray for some good answers & results. I'm feeling desperate at this point.

angela consalves ·

I have scurvy - and can't recover from it


Is it normal for capillaritis to come back. I have had it for a year now, since I was twelve. The spots became all fully brown and faded but now they are starting to come back. I really want to get rid of it because it is a big insecurity of mine

Judie ·

How much Rutin do you take. I was told Vit C and Rutin but I don't remember the dosage.

Jacquie B ·

My fragile capillary condition is driving me crazy. My forearms itch like crazy and I'm not sure why. I am a chronic pain sufferer so I take Norco on a daily basis. That may be why it happens. When I scratch my arms due to relentless itching I easily get deep red discoloration on my forearms which is very unsightly. I'm embarrassed to wear short sleeves. I have had this condition for years now and not sure where to turn. My doctor told me it was not harmful but it sure is ugly. I will try the vitamin C and Rutin. I'll try anything that may work. The itching is relentless but if it's the drug that causes it I don't know what to do because my back and leg pain is also relentless. Would love to hear some suggestions.

David ·

I'm not sure which part of this is working, but it's working. Haven't had an incident in months. Bamboo silica, C, 1000 mg. Quercetin bioflavinoids and Silica and MSM moisturizing lotion by Eidon. I can wear short sleeves again!

Barbara Harrison ·

I was diagnosed with this condition a year or two ago and was told it was an age thing (I am 72) .The dermatologist said nothing can be done. This year I noticed that it has got a lot worse after sitting in the sun and also after showering too.It is very red with the odd blister .Will show my GP when I go next week and make sure that Capillaritis is all it is .

donwann ·

I think my condition is similar. My problem is that in the past couple of years my skin (and maybe capillaries) have gotten extremely fragile. I am currently 55 years old and very physically active both at work and home. However, anytime I rub against anything that would have just yielded a scuff on my skin in the past, I am now looking for antiseptic and bandages. Working on one of my vehicles leaves me looking like I've been in a cat fight with several cats when in the past I would not have shed a drop of blood. Hard bumps to my forearms and wrists leaves bright red/pinkish blood seeps under the skin. Just today I was digging up a section of our home's water line and brushed a tree root in the ground near my right elbow. It was so slight I didn't even think about it. Later, my wife came to check on me and about passed out because half my forearm was covered in blood along with some blood trails back and forth to the hole I had dug. It has gotten so bad I can pinch my skin and break it.

Jaquie P. ·

I have been caring for my 97 year old mother-in-law who seems to have the condition being discussed here. She has dementia and cannot adequately communicate her discomfort but her skin is extremely fragile, shins are a brownish color all the time and she gets large purple "bruised" areas under the skin on legs and forearms. What seems to have helped the most is supplementing with 1000mg. rutin 2x daily and 1000mg. vitamin C along with 50 to 100mg of zinc. When there is a new "bruise" I also topically apply arnica oil (arnica would also be a good homeopathic supplement). These things all seem to keep her skin more stable. Without them, I am sure it would be much worse. Good luck to anyone trying this protocol. I also think quercetin would be a good addition.

Robin Hartis ·

I just recently the last few months with the blood like rash on my legs arms and inside of my mouth. I was dx with stage 4 lung cancer in sept 2016 . I have been on chemo yesterday was my last round I am in remission. I was wondering will this go away are stay with me never had this before I am 53yrs old and it seems it gets worst with the neulasta shot I had one put on yesterday but my rash came before the shot.

David Dool ·

Not going out to eat and cooking my own meals has been my best + most effective healthy eating tip!

B ·

500 mg of Rutin and 1000 my of Vitamin C have helped me tremendously. I was clear for just under 6 months and now I'm having a flare up on my left hand and arm. The top of my hand is almost covered. Hopefully it starts,to clear soon. My right hand is slightly speckled. I expect it will look like tge left soon. I read that this can be linked to my Hashimoto's auto immune disease. I'm pretty sure I will be dealing with this for the rest of my life.

Jennifer ·

I find it happens in warmer weather, which is a disappointment because I don't feel I can wear shorts or skirt with badly stained lower legs. I will try the vitamin C and rutin, provided I can find rutin - it's something I've never heard of. Thank you all.

ib ·

Rutin can also be called bioflavanoids, fyi.

Sc ·

I was 1st diagnosed with capillarities 3yrs ago and after it progressively got worse, i have seen 2 more dermos. The last 1 said i have generalized essential telangetasia and the only option is laser. Patches did disappear for a time so I'm hoping it can do so again but condition has got worse over the last 2yrs and im now covered all over my legs, arms and patches on back and front. Tried Rutin and Vit C but no change. Sun exposure defiantly makes it worse and often itches after a shower. Hopefully we will find something that will help. A dark goid quality fake tan is the only way i can cover but still have to wear leggings in the heat.

Jillian ·

I have been getting these reddish-orange/brownish spots mostly on my shins and especially around my ankles/near the soles of my feet. I never had this problem when I was younger, but noticed it started around 5 years ago when I was 35. Like some others have mentioned, I noticed it would always come on during times of high stress, but then it would stick around for quite a while before eventually going away. I read something interesting that correlated the problem with lack of vitamin c, in that our bodies tend to become depleted of vitamin c when we are stressed so it’s important to supplement. The article also mentioned it can be bad to take aspirin when fighting it off as well. Thanks for all the suggestions—I’m going to look into the special bioavailable vitamin C that was mentioned and rutin to see what happens.

Donna ·

I have a reddish-brown in my ankle for 2years. I went to Dermatologist and she found out i have a pigmented purpuric dermatosis, she advice me to wear a compression stockings, because of no available size for my legs i can't try if it is work. I try to search online for treatment i took ascorbic acid+ rutoside twice a day for 5days. I noticed their faded but im not sure if it will cure

Margaret ·

I have the broken capillaries on my legs which occurs when I play golf. I walk every day and it does not happen. ONLY ON THE GOLF COURSE!! Because the summer is when I am most inclined to want to wear shorts or a skirt I do not because of the unsightly red blotches on my legs. FIt doesn’t appear while I am on the golf course but until I have arrived home and it is a crimson red but fades to a brown in 5 or 6 days. By the 7th day it disappears, only to recur when I play golf again. I have tried the Rutin and Vitamin C. But I have yet to see any relief. Fortunately it doesn’t itch nor is it painful, just disgusting to see.I am convinced that I just have to accept it.