Ocher dermatitis: definition, causes, symptoms and treatments

Ocher dermatitis: definition, causes, symptoms and treatments

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What is ocher dermatitis? How does it manifest? What are the causes and possible complications of this skin disease? Can we treat tan dermatitis? Insights and advice from dermatologist Marie Jourdan.

Ocher dermatitis of the feet: definition

Ocher dermatitis (also called ocher dermatitis, hypodermatitis, pigmented angiodermatitis or purpuric angiodermatitis) is a skin disease characterized by an ocher, or slightly brown, coloring of the skin.

Ocher dermatitis mainly concerns the part of the lower limbs of the body, that is to say the calves, shins and ankles so as to form a sock. We are also talking about sock pigmentation or ocher sock dermatitis. It happens that ocher dermatitis reaches the leg higher and goes up to the thighs, but this is rarer.

Ocher dermatitis: symptoms

What are the symptoms of dermatitis? When we talk about pigmented angiodermatitis, it is a skin condition which is therefore characterized by these spots, which at first appear as punctiform, brownish spots and which become coalescing: during ocher dermatitis, at At first the spots are individualized, then end up merging with each other to form nothing more than a set resembling a pair of socks at the level of the lower limbs and specifically around the feet (ankles and calves).

Note that ocher dermatitis constitutes the end of a process. It manifests itself after the appearance of other symptoms such as heavy legs, pain in the legs, edema of the lower limbs, etc.

Causes of tan dermatitis of the leg

This skin pathology is linked to a rupture of blood capillaries in the skin. Indeed, a rupture of the tiny little vessels present in the dermis causes blood to pass into the skin tissue. Initially, it is a little red, even a little bluish, then brown to finish ocher in color.

In fact, this rupture of the small capillary and this pigmented angiodermatitis is secondary to this rupture of vessels, the blood. Since hemoglobin is rich in iron, it will leave in the skin. So, the blood will leave quickly, it is metabolized, digested by the cells.

But then, why does the skin remain orange during dermatitis? Because the blood is rich in iron and it is this iron deposit that is present in the skin.

Pigmented angiodermatitis in case of hematoma, bruise

And this ocher dermatitis, due to a rupture of the capillaries, occurs when you have a bruise (hematoma, ecchymosis), but in this case the appearance is sudden and often disappears after a few days or weeks.

Ocher dermatitis of the lower limbs and purpura

It can occur after purpura which is due to rupture, fragility of the capillaries in the skin secondary to infections, viruses, autoimmune diseases. And this purpura can then lead to ocher dermatitis.

Chronic venous insufficiency, main cause of ocher dermatitis

Finally, most often, this ocher dermatitis is a symptom of chronic venous insufficiency. The venous blood will have difficulty returning to the heart, there will therefore be stagnation in the lower part of the body and this venous insufficiency will lead to several symptoms (heavy legs, edema of the ankles, varicose veins, pain in the lower legs). evening… and ocher dermatitis). It is therefore a symptom of chronic venous insufficiency.

Ocher dermatitis: people more at risk

Ocher dermatitis secondary to purpura can affect all age groups and both women and men. But, the famous ocher dermatitis of the ankle, latent, chronic, shaped like a sock, linked to chronic venous insufficiency affects women (from around 30 years) more than men (venous insufficiency affects one woman on 2). Having a large chronic insufficiency, or even a varicose vein disease (varicose veins), can be favored by genetics and/or the profession exercised (if one stands a lot and this exerts excessive venous pressure). These are also women who, when they are pregnant, have significant venous pressure which worsens their venous conditions, etc.

Elderly people are also more prone to pigmented angiodermatitis, because the more time the venous disease has had to progress and stagnate, the more frequent it will be.

Ocher dermatitis: what treatments?

Chronic ocher dermatitis: treatment of venous insufficiency

How to treat chronic ocher dermatitis? This ocher dermatitis is extremely chronic, unfortunately there is not much that works. The important thing, however, is to treat the cause: venous insufficiency. Sometimes, in certain patients, treating ocher dermatitis involves surgical intervention on varicose veins, and/or is accompanied by wearing compression stockings.

How to remove ocher dermatitis from the skin caused by a bruise or purpura?

When this dermatitis is due to a bruise or purpura, there is no treatment required. It will go away and fade on its own after a few weeks in the case of a hematoma, or even a few months if it is the result of purpura.

Ocher dermatitis: is skin antisepsis (depigmenting creams) effective?

Which ointment to use for ocher dermatitis?

What about depigmenting creams? Often, the treatment of ocher dermatitis is based on skin antisepsis, namely the destruction of micro-organisms present in the tissues. How ? Via the application of a prescription antiseptic cream. However, according to the dermatologist “lightening and depigmenting creams containing in particular hydroquinone (depigmenting active ingredients), do not work, because the pigmentation of the skin during ocher dermatitis is due to iron deposition, it is not melanin“. There is therefore no need to apply an antiseptic cream for the treatment of ocher dermatitis.

How to remove stains on legs?

Depending on the cases of ocher dermatitis, patients may be offered laser treatment to depigment the area. For example, if the ocher dermatitis is more orange, we can use pigment lasers (either red or brown wavelengths). But, from experience, the result of depigmenting laser sessions is often quite disappointing.

Possible complications:

Complications such as varicose eczema, leg ulcer, erysipelas bacterial skin infection are the complications of chronic venous insufficiency in patients and not of ocher dermatitis. In short, having ocher dermatitis makes you prone to this type of complications, but which are due to significant untreated venous insufficiency (absence of care).

Ocher dermatitis is considered a stage of chronic venous insufficiency. However, this iron deposition in the dermis is not very good for the skin and will increase the risk of skin atrophy, leg ulcers and skin infections because it is an advanced stage.

In the event of ocher dermatitis, it is therefore recommended to consult your doctor who will carry out a clinical examination and a diagnosis of the dermatitis.

Prevention of ocher sock dermatitis

How to stop the progression of ocher dermatitis?

The dermatologist’s advice: Protect your skin from the sun using a protective sunscreen, because UV rays pigment even more and accentuate the effects and color of this ocher dermatitis. We will also limit the intake of certain foods that promote venous congestion, such as coffee and alcohol.