Mottled Skin: Should It Be a Cause for Concern?
Published on October 16, 2019 | Last Modified on March 16, 2020
Mottled skin or skin that appears patchy and irregular in color often makes people nervous. You might also be wondering if these red and purple spots that create a lacy net pattern should be a cause for concern. Well, it depends.
Causes Of Mottled Skin
Skin mottling has different causes. Whether you should be alarmed about it or not depends on the severity of the underlying causes. The two common reasons for skin mottling are blood vessel spasms and poor blood circulation. But these other factors may also cause mottled skin:
1. Cold Environment
As mentioned, poor blood circulation can cause mottled skin. And cold temperatures can cause your blood vessels to constrict. This affects the blood flow in your body which can result in mottling.
Mottled skin due to the cold environment is easy to resolve. Using a warm and comfy blanket can return your skin to normal and should not make you worry at all.
Shock occurs when your body can’t get enough blood flow. Accidents, trauma, or any injuries that lead to blood loss can cause shock, and mottled skin is one sign that there isn’t enough blood flowing in your veins.
Shock is a severe and life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention.
3. Reactions to Medications
Some medications cause skin mottling as a side effect. This depends on the type of drugs and your allergies. Typical medicines that are known to cause mottled skin include:
- Minocycline (Minocin)
- Gemcitabine (Gemzar)
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease marked by inflammation of the skin. This disease can also cause your skin to mottle.
Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. And one of the symptoms for this disease is a mottled skin.
6. End-of-Life Stage
A mottled skin can also indicate your loved one’s imminent death. It often occurs in the last week or days of people who are in hospice care.
Though mottling may be typical to dying people, not everyone experiences mottled skin when they are close to passing.
Some might only experience a paler and colder skin without mottling. This condition usually depends on the health issues that you or your family member is facing at the end of their life. (Related: What to Bring to Someone in Hospice Care)
7. Vascular Illnesses
Symptoms for conditions like blood clots, atherosclerosis, and aortic aneurysms may also include mottled skin. These diseases affect your blood vessels and disrupt your blood flow. Lifestyle changes coupled with proper medications can effectively prevent or treat vascular illnesses.
Mottled Skin In New Born Babies
Mottled skin in newborn babies are frequent, and you should be a cause of concern. It’s commonly caused by exposure to cold and usually goes away on its own.
Complications can occur if the cause of mottled skin is a medical condition that is not immediately addressed. But for mottled skin caused by a cold environment, complications rarely occur.
Treatment for mottled skin will vary based on the condition that caused it. If the mottled skin is caused by cold temperature, then you or your loved one can do some cold-reducing measures to reduce mottling of the skin. You can turn up the central heating or use a heating blanket to warm up.
For people with health problems such as lupus, your doctor may give you medications to boost your immune system and treat the skin inflammation. If you are uncomfortable with your mottled skin, you can cover it up with makeup.
For mottled skin associated with the end-of-life stage, doctors will focus more on keeping the person feel peaceful. Mottled skin is not painful, so it’s a cause of concern. If you or your loved one is close to passing, your health care provider will keep your last days as comfortable as possible.
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About The Author
As a nurse, Franchette Agatha Jardin firmly believes in the importance of understanding the human body and the advancement of science. She writes about what people can do for the betterment of the world and how everyone can be part of something great.