Varicose Eczema (also referred to as Stasis Dermatitis) appears on the lower legs. It is caused by poor circulation and most commonly affects the skin around the ankles; untreated it can lead to an ulcer.
Swollen legs are a common symptom, often accompanied by itching and leg pains. The skin can also become thin and inflamed, discoloured and scaly.
who does it affect?
It most often occurs in middle aged or elderly people.
Deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins or surgery to the affected areas can be contributing factors.
The skin is also more susceptible to irritants and topical treatments such as antibiotics, ingredients in topical drugs, and lanolin.
Treatments include elevating the ankle while resting.
Compression therapy, using specialised stockings can be beneficial, but needs to be maintained long term.
Water compresses can be applied to more severe cases.
Gentle exercise such as walking can improve circulation and lessen the predisposition to this condition.
Topical steroid based creams are used to treat inflammation, but long term use can lead to thinning of the skin.
High potency topical steroid applications can also lead to ulceration and possible infection.
Open infections may need to be treated with topical antibiotics, but this may lead to the development of contact dermatitis.
If the condition becomes ulcerated, other treatments such as oral antibiotics are given.
The skin is more susceptible to irritants such as topical drugs, especially those made with a lanolin base.
Elevate the legs and wear support stockings to prevent fluid accumulating.
Apply cool compresses and keep the skin clean to prevent infection.
Use a cold processed soap, free from artificial fragrances and preservatives. Cold processed soaps are glycerin rich and less likely to dry out the skin.
Avoid skincare products containing artificial fragrance and preservatives.
Avoid using moisturisers containing petrochemicals such as mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin and propylene glycol.
Avoid using creams containing lanolin, and avoid wearing woollen clothing in direct contact with the affected areas.