Livedo Reticularis

Livedo Reticularis: Causes, Picture, Symptoms and Treatment

Livedo Reticularis is referred to as the condition of your skin. The problem also known as mottled skin causes your skin to have reddish or purple patches. Your skin has a web or net form of pattern that looks dangerous. But, the problem can occur as a standalone condition due to the weather factor. It is not as scary as it looks and disappears without any treatment. You need to visit a doctor if weather factors do not cause the issue. Mottled skin can appear due to an underlying health condition or side effects of certain medications you take. Therefore, you need to talk to your doctor to discuss your concerns. With timely medical assistance, you can manage the health conditions better. It prevents any severe complications associated with the underlying health issue. So, learn more about the problem to take the right steps and prevent any adverse issues.

Symptoms Of Livedo Reticularis

Livedo Reticularis The main sign visible is the skin appearance that indicates some problem. You can see blotchy, mottled, and reticulated skin. It does not have any distinctive borders. The affected skin has a network pattern with reddish/bluish discoloration. The exact appearance of the patches varies from person to person. But, it covers the upper body, arms or legs. But, you can characterize the general appearance of livedo reticularis as

  • It looks like a net-like pattern
  • The patches appear like a violet web under your skin
  • You can see reddish stains

Types Of Livedo Reticularis

Based on the person and the underlying cause, you can classify mottled skin into different types:

Cutis Marmorata

Cutis Marmorata

It is the condition that affects mostly infants and young children. The condition causes the skin to have a pinkish-blue marbled or mottled appearance. You can observe the problem in children as a response to cold temperature. So, it is the normal and temporary response to cold. Rewarming can usually restore the normal appearance of the skin. But, in rare cases, the pattern suggests an underlying disorder congenital in nature. Therefore, getting a piece of professional advice from the doctor can offer peace of mind.

Primary or Idiopathic Livedo Reticularis

It is a term used to the persistent skin pattern on people who are healthy with no known health problems. It mostly occurs due to the skin’s exposure to cold temperatures.

Secondary Livedo Reticularis

It is the skin disorder occurring due to some underlying health condition. The health condition can other symptoms along with mottled skin.

Causes Of Livedo Reticularis

As mentioned earlier, the skin can look mottled due to small reason or can suggest some serious underlying health issues. So, the potential causes of livedo reticularis are:

Poor Circulation

The mottled skin can occur as a standalone condition. So, you may not have any underlying health problems. But, the skin discoloration can occur due to poor blood flow. It mostly affects young women and babies. In normal cases, the oxygenated blood flows through your body and to all vital organs. The arteries are the blood vessels responsible for carrying the blood from the heart while veins carry the de-oxygenated blood back to the heart. The skin discoloration pattern occurs when the veins have more blood than the normal levels. So, the following conditions can cause the issue:

  • Enlarged veins
  • The blood leaving the veins gets blocked
  • The blood flow blocked in the arteries that lead to your veins

The problem occurs due to reasons that you can overcome easily. So, it is a temporary condition that needs no specific treatment. The following problems can lead to the condition:

  • Excess use of tobacco
  • Exposure to cold temperature
  • Emotional stress
  • Taking the medication prescribed for Parkinson’s disease

The above-mentioned problems can narrow your veins and lead to skin discoloration. The temporary condition can alleviate when you change your lifestyle or use different medications.



It is a rare autoimmune condition that can result in mottled skin. The inflammatory condition can trigger the problem when exposed to sunlight. So, people suffering from Lupus can experience skin rashes when they go outside. Lupus can trigger butterfly-shaped rashes on the face and mottled skin on your legs. When people suffer from lupus, they can also experience other signs like:

  • Fatigue
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Fever
  • Dry eyes
  • Stiffness
  • Breathing problems
  • Blue finger or toe when exposed to cold temperatures

When you experience such symptoms along with mottled skin, you need to seek medical assistance. With proper treatment, you can manage the problem successfully. Once you have lupus under control, the mottled skin disappears on its own.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis or RA is an autoimmune disease, which can cause livedo reticularis. It is a problem that affects many people around the globe. When you suffer from the problem, it can cause inflammation of the joints. The autoimmune disease can cause mottled or ark, patchy skin. It is due to the fact that the inflammatory condition can affect your blood vessels. So, people suffering from the issue can also see other signs like:

  • Fatigue
  • Pain and stiffness (it last for more than half an hour)
  • Low fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Development of firm nodules or lumps (you can feel it beneath the skin or ankles, elbows or hands)

Antiphospholipid Syndrome

It is the autoimmune condition that affects people in their young to middle age. The problem is also referred to as Hughes syndrome. It can cause mottled skin. So, you can read or purple patches on the skin. But, to confirm it as Hughes syndrome, you have to experience other signs like:

  • Blood Clots
  • Blood circulation problems
  • Leg ulcers

People who suffer from Hughes syndrome are at more risk of developing severe complications like DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis).


Hypothyroidism can lead to livedo reticularis. It is the signs that indicate you have abnormal thyroxine levels. The thyroid hormones have a direct effect on your metabolic rate. The underactive thyroid does not produce the necessary hormone, leading to several issues. So, the condition can lead to several other signs in your body like:

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Depression

Therefore, if you suspect the problem, get your blood checked. It will reveal the hormone issues accurately.


Pancreatitis is the disease that causes your pancreas to become inflamed. It can damage your pancreas as the digestive enzymes start attacking the organs. The releasing of the enzymes before it reaches the small intestines causes the problem. Acute pancreatitis is the sudden form of the condition that lasts only for a short time. But, it can cause mottled skin. So, the condition can accompany with other signs like:

You can experience the mottled skin as a secondary symptom of the disease. So, it occurs after three days after you experience the primary signs.


When your body goes into shock, it can cause mottled skin. The unexpected experience of something or feeling of surprised can result in shock. It is a critical condition that can bring on a sudden drop in blood flow. It affects the circulation of oxygenated blood to all your vital organs. Therefore, you expect other signs like:

  • Enlarged pupils
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • You can suffer from the unexpected shock when you undergo the following:
  • Trauma
  • Accident
  • Blood Loss
  • Infection
  • Poison
  • Burns

Shock is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical assistance. Therefore, you need to seek medical help to avoid fatal complications.

Babies Having Mottled Skin

Newborn babies can have discoloration of the skin. The mottled skin can scare most parents. But, the temporary condition may not cause the child any harm. It goes away without any treatment. In most cases, the exposure to cold temperature can cause the development of the mottled skin. Therefore, you need to wrap your child in blankets. Keeping them warm can avoid the condition. Always consult a pediatrician if the condition persists. So, getting it checked by a professional can offer you peace of mind.

Livedo Reticularis In Near Death

Elderly people or individuals who suffer from a terminal illness can see mottled skin. The skin appearance indicates the person can die within a short time. The people who are approaching death can experience other signs like:

  • Trouble swallowing food or liquid
  • No inclination to have food or water (in most cases, they refuse it)
  • Unconsciousness
  • Delirious behavior
  • Trouble breathing properly
  • Extreme weakness
  • Exhaustion or fatigue
  • Reduced heart rate

Diagnosing Livedo Reticularis

When you observe mottled skin, you need to seek help from your doctor. The professional diagnosis can help you understand the exact cause leading to the problem and its severity. Depending on the condition, your doctor can develop a treatment plan to eradicate the health problem. So, your doctor can undertake the following diagnostic technique to detect the problem:

Physical Assessment

The doctor first discusses the problem in detail. You need to inform your doctor about the health issues you suffer and the medications you take. The health issue you suffer may cause mottled skin. Therefore, the information can help your doctor reach a diagnosis. The signs and symptoms in your body can make your doctor suggest for other tests that will help reach a conclusive diagnosis.

Blood Tests

The blood tests can detect the various problems triggering the condition. You need to provide your blood sample to assess it in the lab. So, the technicians can detect the underlying cause of the problem.

Skin Biopsy

The sample of your skin gets evaluated under the microscope. So, it provides your doctor the clue to the possible condition that causes mottled skin.

Treatment Options For Livedo Reticularis

You need to contact your doctor to determine the exact reason that causes livedo reticularis. After diagnosing the actual problem, your doctor suggests the treatment plan to overcome the underlying cause. No specific treatment is available for mottled. When you treat the underlying health problem, the problem alleviates by itself. Therefore, the doctor can suggest the following treatment for the conditions like:


For mottled skin caused by shock, you need to seek immediate medical treatment. Failure to seek treatment immediately can result in a fatal complication. Therefore, the treatment may include:

  • Providing oxygen
  • Offer intravenous fluids

You may need to undergo further tests to get the proper treatment to get relief.

Autoimmune Disease

Several kinds of autoimmune diseases can lead to livedo reticularis. So, your doctor can prescribe medication that will reduce inflammation. The drugs will also manage the autoimmune disease to relieve you from distress and agony.


Acute pancreatitis can trigger severe complications. Without proper treatment, the health issue can cause fatal complication. So, the treatment of the underlying health issue includes:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the swelling and redness
  • Intravenous fluids to provide nutrition and rehydrate the body
  • Lifestyle changes to avoid complication and prevent a recurrence

Poor Circulation

Poor blood circulation can lead to mottled skin. Therefore, your doctor suggests steps to increase blood circulation. The main remedy includes exercises. By working out daily, you can improve the condition. Lifestyle changes can also avoid any problem associated with the issue.

End Of Life

Some elderly patients can experience mottled skin as an end-of-the-life symptom. Therefore, the doctor focuses on providing a comfortable time. The treatment focuses on making the rest of the time pain-free.

Home Remedies For Livedo Reticularis

Remember, you need to seek medical assistance to know the exact reason triggering the problem. The doctor can help you deal with the problem. But, you can try the natural remedies at home for getting comfort. The easy to try skin remedies can soothe the condition. Once you get proper treatment, the condition disappears on its own. But, effective home treatments can help ease livedo reticularis. Therefore, you can try home treatments like:

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera has healing properties that can ease the irritation and itching of your skin. The soothing gel can provide good relief when you suffer from mottled skin. You can apply the gel to protect it from sun rays, smoke, burns, cuts or other conditions. So, applying it on your skin can heal the redness associated due to mottled skin.


The anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in the oatmeal can eliminate the redness due to mottled skin. Taking an oatmeal bath can soothe your skin and offer relief from the agony associated with the disease. It is mainly useful for people affected by mottled skin in large body parts. It moisturizes the affected skin. Therefore, you can cure the dryness caused by the problem.

Green Tea

Green tea can minimize the redness around the affected skin. The anti-inflammatory properties in the Green tea will offer you relief. The properties of green tea can ease swelling.  So, you can overcome the discomfort associated with the condition. You just have to steep a bag of green tea in hot water. Soak a cloth in the tea and apply in on the mottled skin to get relief.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is famous for its natural healing properties. You can use it on your skin to moisturize it. It rehydrates your skin and offers relief from the distress due to livedo reticularis.


It is one of the oldest remedies suggested to heal your skin from different types of problems. You can even use it to reveal the issues of mottled skin. Yogurt contains lactic acid, which can effectively provide relief. The alpha hydroxyl in yogurt can moisturize your dry and rough skin making it smooth. So, apply it directly on the skin to get relief.

Understand livedo reticularis in itself is not a dangerous or fatal condition. The skin may turn from red to purplish-blue color due to the blood vessels near the skin surface. But, it is not an alarming condition. It mostly disappears by itself once the underlying health condition heals. So, get treatment for the condition to relieve the problem completely.

Preventing Livedo Reticularis

The appearance of the mottled skin can cause concern. The condition can signify some health problem. So, get medical help immediately. But, is there a way to prevent the condition? Yes, you can follow some steps in your life to avoid the problem completely.

Avoid Cold Temperature

The cold temperature can worsen the appearance of the mottled skin. Therefore, you need to avoid cold temperature to prevent the condition from getting worse. You need to wrap your affected skin to avoid the excess cold. It keeps the skin warm and prevents worsening of the condition.

Well-Balanced Diet

Eating healthy can solve many problems affecting your body. You need to include a balanced diet to get the essential nutrients that will strengthen your immune system. So, including fruits, vegetables, and other good food items to avoid any health risks.

Include Physical Activity

Including physical activity can keep you fit and healthy. Exercises can keep your weight in check. So, it reduces your risk of developing vascular problems.

Stop Smoking

Stop Smoking

Smoking can trigger several health problems. One among them is poor blood circulation. Poor circulation can lead to mottled skin. Therefore, quit smoking as it will reduce your risk of experiencing mottled skin. By stopping the bad habit, you can avoid the risk of poor circulation.


Livedo reticularis is not a fatal condition in itself. But, mottled skin may indicate some underlying health problem that requires immediate treatment. Depending on the condition you suffer, the outlook may differ. You need to seek medical attention to rectify the problem as soon as possible. Some health complications can have fatal results. Never ignore the signal provided by your body. Therefore, get treatment at the right time to manage the condition better. The early intervention can avoid any complication and ensure your good health.

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