Senile purpura bruises and treatment options

Posted by ellerbracke @ellerbracke, May 24, 2019

I ( and a friend or 2) love gardening. Even with wearing long sleeves while working outside, (today it was about 76 degrees by 8 AM here), I still get poked or scratched. The resulting bleeds and the bruises are way out of proportion to the cause. Anybody have a good suggestion how to cover up some of the bruises on my lower arms (elbow to wrist) so I don’t look so abused when going out in public? Meaning, make-up tricks. Tomorrow it will be around 94 degrees again here, so long sleeves out and about are not what I want to wear going forward.

Liked by Leonard

@contentandwell

@ellerbracke @imallears Are you sure these are bruises? I get purple spots on my forearms that are called actinic purpura, or very insultingly, senile purpura. As my daughter commented when I told her that, "how rude!". Here is an article about a product, Dermend, that is supposed to help with this.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605207/
I asked my dermatologist and he prescribed Tretinoin, which is basically a retin A type of cream and supposed to make your skin a little thicker to not get these marks as easily.
I am including pictures of my purpura so you can see if this what you also have. They are different from bruises actually, and more apt to happen with fair-skinned people. Being on prednisone increases the chance of getting them because apparently, prednisone thins your skin more. I just found this out Friday from a nurse.
I wear an Apple watch now and am getting a lot of redness/purpura where that is. The Apple watch emits a green light out the back to reflect on your blood and determine your BPM. I am wondering if that green light may be causing a problem for me. I think I may try turning that option off on my watch.
There is a heavy makeup called Dermablend that is made for body usage – they actually have both, facial and body. That could help I believe but it sounds as if it's a pain in the neck to use. I am hoping mine will diminish some time before my son's wedding, but if not I may consider using it.
JK

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@contentandwell Those look like my arms along with my brown spots I wonder if it just comes with our maturity

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@ellerbracke

To everyone: thank you for all the helpful suggestions. Arnica stands out, will try that. And will look for dermablend. Usually I’m not too worried about the discolorations, but with my 70th coming up I don’t want to look like 80 during the celebrations!
Regarding JK’s comment that it might be actinic purpura, I will check this out. It does look very much like what I have, it is limited to my forearms, but it only seems to happen when there is a trigger (like when I brush against branches while pruning a shrub, like being lazy and sticking my arm into a tight, half-open container and scraping the skin (without breaking it), those kind of situations. So perhaps it’s a combination of senile bruising with a cause?

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@ellerbracke I neglected to include that it does generally have a slight cause, as in a minor bump or something that you would never think would cause a bruise. Also, it fades differently than a typical bruise and sometimes leaves a light brown spot where it had been, and is pretty much confined to forearms and hands. Those are the only places where I have gotten them, so definitely true to the information I have found.

More info here:
https://www.healthline.com/health/senile-purpura
The prescription that I have from my dermatologist, tretinoin cream, is very expensive and Medicare does not pay for it because it is cosmetic. I think the regular retail is around $250 for a tube but if you have the app "GoodRx" and look it up it will give you places that have it the cheapest and often provide a coupon. I was able to get it through GoodRx for about $60 at CVS. I have not tried Dermend but I am thinking about it. I do not think that is a prescription. I have been using tretinoin for about 2 and a half months now and didn't think I had seen a difference but right now my forearms do not look too bad. I am not sure if that's simply because I have not been as active as usual, or if it really is working. I too have an incentive, my son's wedding in August. I figure that in the process of traveling to Denver from NH I will be bumping things a lot and if this cream is not working I will be covered with these unsightly blemishes. They seem to crop up overnight.
JK

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@imallears

Hi ellerbracke,

I do know what purpura is as several friends and relatives have that condition, some worse than others. I don’t and I remember my mom never did either…..dad had a couple minor ones. Wonder if genetics plays a role. I get a regular bruise only when I bump into something but it fades eventually. I don’t take medications and wonder if that helps.

But thanks for the pictures and information. There are people who call them old age spots and say to stay out of the sun and everyone gets them. We know that’s not true and your information is educational which is what is so great about this site. I love it when people research and get informed about what’s going on with them…I don’t take too much at face value…gotta know why and would rather hear about any conditions or maladies from people with an informed personal experience.

Could it be any hotter in Florida? The answer is yes…ugh.

Regards from FL Mary

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@imallears Genetics do play a role in that you inherit the characteristics of your skin, and fair skin is more easily damaged. The sun can cause damage to your skin making purpura more apt to occur so staying out of the sun is a good thing to do.

I have heard that the southeast has been having very hot weather. I wish it was a tad warmer here in NH though. Yesterday was perfect, beautiful day and in the 70s. Today is gloomy and right now only 47 degrees!
JK

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@contentandwell

@ellerbracke I neglected to include that it does generally have a slight cause, as in a minor bump or something that you would never think would cause a bruise. Also, it fades differently than a typical bruise and sometimes leaves a light brown spot where it had been, and is pretty much confined to forearms and hands. Those are the only places where I have gotten them, so definitely true to the information I have found.

More info here:
https://www.healthline.com/health/senile-purpura
The prescription that I have from my dermatologist, tretinoin cream, is very expensive and Medicare does not pay for it because it is cosmetic. I think the regular retail is around $250 for a tube but if you have the app "GoodRx" and look it up it will give you places that have it the cheapest and often provide a coupon. I was able to get it through GoodRx for about $60 at CVS. I have not tried Dermend but I am thinking about it. I do not think that is a prescription. I have been using tretinoin for about 2 and a half months now and didn't think I had seen a difference but right now my forearms do not look too bad. I am not sure if that's simply because I have not been as active as usual, or if it really is working. I too have an incentive, my son's wedding in August. I figure that in the process of traveling to Denver from NH I will be bumping things a lot and if this cream is not working I will be covered with these unsightly blemishes. They seem to crop up overnight.
JK

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@contentandwell Hey, I earned these senile purpura bruises, just like every gray hair on my head! LOL
Ginger

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@gingerw

@contentandwell Hey, when did you sneak in and take pictures of my arms? My dad had these, I do, also. Dr's have told me it's because of taking aspirin low dose or vitamin E, genetics, being fair skinned, compromised immune system. Most likely a combination of all of them! I get these marks and don't even recall a brush against something.wear sunscreen. Arnica, as @lioness commented, is great for bruises. It is homeopathic, and does take a bit of time to work. I just figure these are badges for living, and don't worry too much what others think of them ;))
Ginger

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@gingerw I don't remember either of my parents having them, but my father died at 65, and my mother at 67. I didn't get these until last year when I was 70.

I have all of these also, "because of taking aspirin low dose or vitamin E, genetics, being fair skinned, compromised immune system" except vitamin E. I have had your attitude most of the time but I really hope to not have them for my son's wedding. I am trying to find a long, lacy sleeved dress, just in case. Lacy sleeves because they won't be as warm as solid sleeves. The article about Dermend said it was developed specifically for this condition.
JK

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@lioness

@imallears I saw your in a real heat wave.Here in California the weatherman says we are finally getting out of the rain.Next 7days sunshine and blue sky instead of the 60,sit will go ally go into 70,s@close to 90s hope weather will start to settle down.Arifa for bruises is good but I have brown @purple spots so .I'm a spotted lioness lol

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@spottedlioness
Hi, I love that….June 1 is the start of the hurricane season and the beginning of the late afternoon storms which are awesome unless you are caught in one. This year forecasts a mild hurricane season so that's good. Can't complain about the sunny days and got to remember to put sunscreen on my arms and especially hands. I keep it out on the bathroom sink or I will forget. What I hate is when the humidity is so high your sunglasses fog up when you leave the house and your eyelashes sweat…and any makeup slides right off your face. I have friends who are snowbirds and tell them to kindly keep their spring like temps to themselves lol. Well, at least its an instant moisturizer….
And yet….it's 95 here today and I made soup….thank you Lord for the AC.

Regards from FL Mary

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@imallears

@spottedlioness
Hi, I love that….June 1 is the start of the hurricane season and the beginning of the late afternoon storms which are awesome unless you are caught in one. This year forecasts a mild hurricane season so that's good. Can't complain about the sunny days and got to remember to put sunscreen on my arms and especially hands. I keep it out on the bathroom sink or I will forget. What I hate is when the humidity is so high your sunglasses fog up when you leave the house and your eyelashes sweat…and any makeup slides right off your face. I have friends who are snowbirds and tell them to kindly keep their spring like temps to themselves lol. Well, at least its an instant moisturizer….
And yet….it's 95 here today and I made soup….thank you Lord for the AC.

Regards from FL Mary

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@imallers Soup on a hot day well to me it's good anytime I have to get a chicken so I can make chicken soup .It's a pleasant 70 here but suppose to get close to 80 by weeks end That humidity melts me was in Ga. for my brothers funeral stayed 2weeks couldn't wait to get back

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@imallears

@spottedlioness
Hi, I love that….June 1 is the start of the hurricane season and the beginning of the late afternoon storms which are awesome unless you are caught in one. This year forecasts a mild hurricane season so that's good. Can't complain about the sunny days and got to remember to put sunscreen on my arms and especially hands. I keep it out on the bathroom sink or I will forget. What I hate is when the humidity is so high your sunglasses fog up when you leave the house and your eyelashes sweat…and any makeup slides right off your face. I have friends who are snowbirds and tell them to kindly keep their spring like temps to themselves lol. Well, at least its an instant moisturizer….
And yet….it's 95 here today and I made soup….thank you Lord for the AC.

Regards from FL Mary

Jump to this post

@imallers You had enough hurricanes last year hope they aren't as bad

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@contentandwell

@imallears Genetics do play a role in that you inherit the characteristics of your skin, and fair skin is more easily damaged. The sun can cause damage to your skin making purpura more apt to occur so staying out of the sun is a good thing to do.

I have heard that the southeast has been having very hot weather. I wish it was a tad warmer here in NH though. Yesterday was perfect, beautiful day and in the 70s. Today is gloomy and right now only 47 degrees!
JK

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@contentandwell : I have yet to read up about the details of actinic purpura (too busy with garden, grandchildren’s birthdays, graduation ceremonies, house painter….). But the trigger being a very minor bump/scrape holds true. Now looking for something to blame. Not fair-skinned, no aspirin, no vitamin E, but sun exposure in the past (in the 1960’s it was cool to be tan, especially in the mountainous countries in Europe). Perhaps genetics….
As far as temperature competitions: we ended up with 97 degrees here on Monday, but contrary to what is common in SC., no real humidity yet. Has been mid to upper 90’s for 3 days, 3 more to go, then it will settle down to humid 85 to 90, and stay there for about 4 months. I could open another discussion as to why I stay here, why I bother to garden here (standard veggies, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, figs, and especially currants, which cannot be bought for love or money anywhere around here, and are a gamble each and every season).
You all have a pleasant summer, and I know what some people meant regarding climate comparisons. One of my sons lives in Portland OR, and they were wearing long sleeves 2 days ago!

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@ellerbracke

@contentandwell : I have yet to read up about the details of actinic purpura (too busy with garden, grandchildren’s birthdays, graduation ceremonies, house painter….). But the trigger being a very minor bump/scrape holds true. Now looking for something to blame. Not fair-skinned, no aspirin, no vitamin E, but sun exposure in the past (in the 1960’s it was cool to be tan, especially in the mountainous countries in Europe). Perhaps genetics….
As far as temperature competitions: we ended up with 97 degrees here on Monday, but contrary to what is common in SC., no real humidity yet. Has been mid to upper 90’s for 3 days, 3 more to go, then it will settle down to humid 85 to 90, and stay there for about 4 months. I could open another discussion as to why I stay here, why I bother to garden here (standard veggies, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, figs, and especially currants, which cannot be bought for love or money anywhere around here, and are a gamble each and every season).
You all have a pleasant summer, and I know what some people meant regarding climate comparisons. One of my sons lives in Portland OR, and they were wearing long sleeves 2 days ago!

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@ellerbracke Yes, sun damage can definitely make you more susceptible to these unsightly spots.

I hadn't realized you live in SC. The forecasts this past weekend for Columbia predicted triple-digit temperatures! I notice that these days because my son's fiancee is from there and her family still lives not too far from Columbia. I hope it won't be that bad next weekend, my son and his fiancee are going there for a shower. Her family lives right on a big lake though so at least they can get some relief taking a dip or a boat ride. My son and his fiancee live in Denver so they too have had much cooler weather.
JK

Liked by lioness

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@contentandwell

@ellerbracke Yes, sun damage can definitely make you more susceptible to these unsightly spots.

I hadn't realized you live in SC. The forecasts this past weekend for Columbia predicted triple-digit temperatures! I notice that these days because my son's fiancee is from there and her family still lives not too far from Columbia. I hope it won't be that bad next weekend, my son and his fiancee are going there for a shower. Her family lives right on a big lake though so at least they can get some relief taking a dip or a boat ride. My son and his fiancee live in Denver so they too have had much cooler weather.
JK

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@contentandwell Still waiting for the 80,s here in SoCal

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This occurs in about 10% of older Americans and is seen as red or violet marks on the forearms mostly. It is seen when you bruise or hit your forearms. Takes weeks to lessen. I have found bioflanoid supplements can help me alleviate marks.

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Hi @lewismustard Welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. As you will see, I added your discussion to a conversation that was already started with some seasoned members of connect on senile purpura so that I could connect you with individuals going through similar experiences. I also added your discussion to the Skin Health Group that can be found here. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/skin-conditions/

Here is a little information on treatment for this:
Treatment of Actinic Purpura: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605207/

@lewismustard, Can you tell us a little more about your condition and what else you may do to combat extensive bruising?

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