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19 September 2017Last updated
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Ask the expert: help – my legs are red and itchy

You could be suffering from stasis dermatitis

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir
18 Jan 2016 | 03:00 pm

I’m suffering from a peculiar type of inflamed, itchy, scaly skin lesions on my lower shins/legs. I am also suffering from severe varicose veins. Please advise a suitable treatment.

You could be suffering from stasis dermatitis. This type of inflamed flaky eczema (dermatitis) usually affects the areas you’ve mentioned. Sufferers of varicosities (prominent varicose veins) are most commonly affected by this. It is said to be triggered by sluggish blood circulation in lower legs due to varicose veins, which leads to pooling of blood. To treat this, we have to address your skin issues on two fronts.

One, the dermatitis component can be treated through topical application of steroidal ointments for some time, followed by frequent use of thick emollients like petroleum jelly or Vaseline. However, these usually provide short-lasting remissions. I must warn you about a potentially serious problem that could arise – the appearance of stasis ulcers, which are often the result of vigorous scratching and are extremely difficult to heal.

Two, you need to see a vascular surgeon to address and resolve your varicose veins.

Meanwhile, you could wear above-the-knee stockings. Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time. Sleep with a pillow under the feet to improve blood circulation in legs.

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Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir

is a specialist dermatologist and founder and president of Dermacare Skin Health Services.