What does varicose eczema look like? What Causes Varicose Eczema? Is varicose eczema serious?
I get asked about varicose eczema a lot. So here are 5 essential facts about Varicose Eczema to help inform you when you make your decision about whether to have specialist treatment. I will cover What it is, what it looks like, what causes it, when it is a problem and how it can be treated.
What is varicose eczema?
Varicose eczema is an inflamed area of skin on the leg caused by a fault in the function of the veins under the skin called superficial venous reflux or by a problem in the deep veins following a deep vein thrombosis.
What does varicose eczema look like?
The skin becomes itchy and swollen, dry and flaky or scaly. On lighter skin it looks red or brown and on darker skin it tends to look dark brown or grey. In addition to leg, the eczema may spread to other parts of the body.
What causes varicose eczema?
Unhealthy leg veins have a negative impact on blood flow and nourishment to the skin, which then becomes inflamed and damaged, a medical problem called chronic venous insufficiency.
When is varicose eczema a problem?
If varicose eczema is not treated promptly and correctly, it can progress to a leg ulcer. Leg ulcers are long-lasting wounds that form where the skin has become damaged and breaks down. In my opinion, everyone with varicose eczema should be referred for specialist advice. If the eczema starts to weep or discharge, then urgent medical advice should be sought.
How can varicose eczema be treated?
In the short term and in the early stages, you can manage varicose eczema yourself by keeping active and elevating the affected leg. Under the advice of a healthcare professional, and in the absence of other health conditions such as diabetes or artery disease, good quality medical-grade compression socks should be worn during the day and the skin should be moisturised after taking the sock off before going to bed. These measures will relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of the eczema deteriorating to a leg ulcer. If itch or other symptoms are particularly troublesome, steroid creams or ointments may be used for a short period. For a longer-lasting solution, a vein scan and the advice of a vein specialist should be sought to fix the underlying vein problem. Vein treatments for varicose eczema can be carried out safely under local anaesthetic as a walk in, walk out non-invasive procedure.
If you would like more information about varicose eczema, please get in contact and one of our advisors will be happy to help you.
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PS: During the COVID-19 Pandemic, if you have an urgent problem with your veins or you are worried about your leg ulcer, please contact the NHS 111