Stasis Dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis occurs when veins lose the ability to pump blood back to the heart (poor venous circulation). Dry skin commonly occurs along with poor venous circulation. Stasis dermatitis appears as red, scaly, itchy patches on the legs. A yellowish or light brown discoloration is also present. Due to scratching or other injury, these patches can become an ulcer. This ulcer may remain for long periods of time. The ulcer can also become infected. Swelling of the legs is often present with stasis dermatitis. If the leg is swollen, this increases the risk of infection and further damage to the skin. Sometimes, intense itching, tingling, and burning occurs before signs of stasis dermatitis appear. You may find yourself scratching the insides of your ankles or rubbing your ankles together before the rash appears. After healing, there are often brown spots on the affected skin.

Treatment includes resting and elevating the affected leg above the level of the heart, if possible. Cortisone creams and ointments applied to the skin (topically) may be needed, as well as medicine to reduce swelling in the legs (diuretics). Compression stockings or an elastic wrap may also be needed to reduce swelling. If there is an infection, antibiotic medicines may also be used. Your skin may react to topical medicine (sensitization). Your skin may react to ingredients in wool wax alcohols, fragrances, and even topical corticosteroids.

Burow's solution wet packs applied for 30 minutes, 3 times daily, will help the weepy rash. Stop using the packs before your skin gets too dry. You can also use a mixture of 3 parts white vinegar to 1 quart water. Grease your legs daily with ointments, such as petroleum jelly, to fight dryness. Avoid scratching or injuring the affected area. Call your caregiver right away if your rash gets worse, if an ulcer forms, or if you have a fever or other severe symptoms.