Livedo Reticularis – Causes, Picture, Symptoms And Treatment

Livedo Reticularis Causes, Symptoms ,TreatmentPrimary Livedo reticularis is a vascular condition that affects the superficial blood vessels and the capillaries. This disease causes a purplish colored appearance on the skin. Medium veins of the body swell in this disease. This condition is associated with autoimmune diseases such as the systemic lupus erythematosus. It can also be associated with abnormal antibodies referred as phospholipid antibodies. Marks on one’s skin of the arms, legs, palms and even the soles appear in this disease. The main characteristic of this disease is the bluish-reddish discoloration of the skin. This situation gets severe during winters. Some patients might show symptoms of Livedo reticularis when exposed to cold temperatures, but they do not actually suffer from this disease. A recent study has proved that confirmation of cholesterol embolization syndrome through Livedo reticularis is possible.

Causes of Livedo Reticularis

Livedo reticularis is a disease caused due to the swelling of blood vessels that include the capillaries. This swelling is due to the accumulation of the blood in some areas of the blood vessel. The accumulation occurs due to an interruption caused to the normal blood flow. The interruptions occur by vascular obstructions. The vascular obstructions occur due to infections, blood clots or vessel wall issues. The presence of obstruction or inflammation creates disruption leading to scarcity of blood in the superficial vessels. Due to this, a mechanism takes place by which the underlying blood vessels swell up in an attempt to supply the blood to the superficial ones. This mechanism causes spasm that leads to the trapping of blood in a particular area of the vessels.

The contraction of the blood vessels that takes place in winters causes Livedo reticularis. This contraction of vessels is common in children and among adults. The other reason behind the cause of Livedo reticularis is the hormonal changes that occur in the body. It can also occur due to an autoimmune response, which occurs more commonly in women. During their progression, diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sneddon’s syndrome and some forms of the cancers show the same symptoms as Livedo reticularis. Allergic reactions or side-effect of drugs can also cause Livedo reticularis.


Symptoms of the Livedo reticularis vary among individuals. Several tests and measures help in determining if one is suffering from this disease. Some of the tests used for diagnosing this disease are CBC, ANA, coagulation test and biopsy. The signs and symptoms of this disease are:

  • An irregular pattern with purplish or bluish colored rash
  • The pattern on the skin is like a web
  • The rash is non itchy
  • Swelling and pain in the associated joints
  • Numbness
  • Swelling
  • Occurrence of ulcers

Treatment of Livedo Reticularis

Treatment of the Livedo reticularis focuses on a specific symptoms of the disease. No specific drugs can treat this disease completely. The reason behind the cause of this disease is due to accumulation of blood. Doing some regular leg exercises can help in circulation of the blood. Some of the leg exercises include pumping of ankle, leg elevation, and application of something warm on the legs can increase the circulation of blood. Over a period the marks on the skin does not reverse and remains permanent. In case of the systematic involvement as in case of rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory medication is required to decrease pain and swelling. Use of antiplatelets and corticosteroids can show improvement in the health condition. In severe cases, ulcer may develop on the skin. One should use proper foot care and shoes so that it reduces the effect of the poor blood supply. One should consult a doctor if the symptom of the disease starts getting severe.

Preventive steps

It is difficult to cure Livedo reticularis disease completely. You can prevent the disease by taking particular steps. Some of these steps are:

  • Exercise: The blood vessels come close to the skin in Livedo reticularis as a result it makes the skin look red. Exercising can help in alleviating this symptom of the disease.
  • Use of Aspirin: An aspirin helps in thinning of the blood. You can also take any other blood-thinning drug as prescribed by your physician. Having a lot of water also helps in removal of the toxins from the blood.
  • Fish oils: Fish oils helsp in thinning of the blood. One can also use olive oil as an alternative to fish oil. Both fish and olive oils contain omega-3 fatty acids. These oils also help in fighting depression.
  • Massage: A complete body massage can help in increasing the blood circulation throughout the body. It also helps with the delivery of oxygen and nutrients all over the body.
  • Alcohol: Having alcohol also helps in thinning the blood. Having a little dark red wine would show great benefits.
  • Ginger and Garlic: Consuming ginger and garlic helps in warming the blood. It also helps in circulation of the blood in the body.
  • Steam bath: Steam bath can really help a lot. It helps in relaxing and helps in circulation of the blood throughout the body.


Livedo reticularis leads to the blockage of blood vessels. It is not a very dangerous disease, but it can be painful if not taken care. It is the discoloration of the skin and affects the legs the most. The complication of this disease can increase due to cold weather. There is no particular treatment for this disease. However, there are several steps to make sure that this disease does not occur like doing exercise on a regular basis and having omega-3 fatty acid rich supplements. If you start feeling pain and ulcers start to develop, then you must visit a doctor. Several factors are involved in curing the disease, which includes severity of the symptoms and the cause of the disease. This disease can be a sign of having some other underlying health issues. These may include lupus, anti-phospholipid or even Sneddon’s syndrome disease. If you start feeling any of the symptoms associated with Livedo reticularis, then it is better that you consult a doctor. A proper check up by a physician at the right time is very important for this disease. It is also important that you do follow-up with your doctor on a regular basis. Once treated for this condition, you can prevent it by the following the preventive steps.


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