Causes of Mottled Skin: Possible Treatment & Preventions

What is Mottled Skin?

Mottled skin, medically called livedo reticularis, is a condition that results in red, purple, or blue colored blotches, or web-like patterns on the skin.

There are possible causes of mottled like cold, reduced blood flow, etc., but sometimes, the cause is unknown.

The common symptoms of mottled skin are:

  • Red, blue or purple blotches on the skin
  • Sores on the skin
  • Painful tissue growths under the skin

In people with darker skin tones, mottled skin blotches are dark brown instead of colored.

Mottled skin could appear on any part of your body and goes away voluntarily. If they don’t fade away by themselves, you should seek medical attention.

What are the causes of mottled skin?

Generally, mottled is caused by low amounts of oxygenated blood in the blood vessels and poor blood circulation. However, many things can cause these conditions in the body.

●    Cold

Mottled skin that is caused by cold is called cutis marmorata. Cold can cause mottled skin, as the blood vessels constrict in cold conditions.

This reduces blood flow through the arteries, and if carried on for long, might cause blue or purple blotches on the skin.

However, when the body gets warm, the blood vessels would dilate and the mottled skin would disappear voluntarily.

For this reason, mottled skin caused by cold does not require treatment.

●    Lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system attacks the healthy tissues of the body. This condition has no cure.

In lupus, the tissues of the arterial walls might be attacked. If so, there would be red or blue blotches of blood under the skin.

Worse still, the tissues of the lungs might be attacked. This would reduce the capacity and rate of gas exchange between the blood and the atmosphere.

As a result, there might be excess carbon dioxide in the blood that would cause the purple or blue colors of mottled skin.

●    Antiphospholipid Syndrome

Antiphospholipid Syndrome, also known as Hughes syndrome, is an autoimmune disease where abnormal antibodies become abnormal blood clots.

These blood clots block the blood vessels to reduce blood flow and increase the chances of stroke and other heart diseases.

Hughes syndrome is accompanied by low blood count, and it mostly affects young and middle-aged people.

In most cases, mottled skin that has no cause are early symptoms of APS. Other symptoms of APS are leg ulcers and blood circulation problems.

●    Shock

Shock refers to a sudden drop in blood pressure- especially in the big vessels. It can be caused by accidents, poison, trauma, infection, burn, etc.

Mottled skin might indicate shock alongside other symptoms like dizziness, fainting, rapid breathing, rapid pulse, cold skin, etc.

Shock is a medical emergency and should be treated quickly, if not it would cause death.

●    Vascular diseases

Vascular diseases that cause reduced blood flow like atherosclerosis and aortic aneurysms, can also cause mottled skin.

Reduced blood flow can also cause a series of negative events like poor blood circulation, and the inability to transport enough oxygen to vital organs.

Treatment Method

Mottled skin is treated according to the cause.

If the mottled is caused by a cold, it can be treated by keeping the body warm.

In the same vein, mottled caused by autoimmune diseases can only be reduced using some medications. These medications might control the immune response and inflammation.

In cases like shock, mottled skin is a sign of an emergency. If medications that would return the blood pressure are not given on time, the person might die.

For mottled caused by vascular diseases, it is treated by treating the underlying disease like an aortic aneurysm.

Also, medications would be given to prevent the narrowing of vessels, and remove cholesterol from the lumen of blood vessels.

How to prevent mottled skin

You can prevent bottled skin with the following tips;

●    Stop smoking

Cigarettes contain a substance called nicotine, which causes constriction of blood vessels on the skin and heart.

There are many disadvantages of smoking, including mottled skin, which you can prevent by not smoking

●    Keep your body warm

By keeping your body warm, you might protect your arteries from getting constricted by cold. In turn, you would protect yourself from mottled skin.

This is mostly advised for babies and children as most cases of mottled skin in children are caused by cold.

●    Exercise regularly

For better blood circulation, you need to stay active. Lying or sitting for too long might affect blood circulation.

For example, when you sit or stand for a long, a pool of blood forms in your legs instead of moving upwards. This disrupts blood circulation in the body and can be prevented by exercising regularly.

●    Avoid putting pressure on your hands and legs

Putting pressure on your hand and legs might disrupt blood flow, therefore it is best advised to not put pressure on them for too long.

Also, avoid wearing clothes that are too tight. This would allow blood to flow freely through your hands and legs.

●    Manage stress properly

Under stressful situations, the body releases a stress hormone called cortisol, which impedes blood flow.

Cortisol reduces blood flow by constricting the blood vessels, which affects blood circulation patterns in the body.

You can manage stress by creating a schedule including breaks, having a to-do list, and meditating for a few minutes.

●    Regular massage

Getting a massage regularly is another way of maintaining good blood circulation to all parts of your body.

You can do this with a professional at the spa, or by yourself using some self-massage techniques.

Why do babies have mottled skin?

Mottled skin in newborn babies is mostly caused by cold. If you ensure the baby is warm, the mottled would gradually fade away.

Mottled in babies is not a serious condition and it can be prevented if your baby is not exposed to cold.

Does mottled skin mean death is near?

Caregivers confirm that mottled skin might be a sign that the person might die soon. This type of lower skin is mostly in the upper extremities.

However, there are other symptoms you should watch out for before concluding.

These symptoms include;

  • difficulty in drinking and swallowing
  • General body weakness
  • Reduced cardiac activity
  • Breathing issues

If the person manifests some or all of these symptoms, the person might be close to dying.


Mottled skin is colored blotches on the skin that indicate low blood pressure, poor blood circulation, or excess deoxygenated blood in the body.

It is caused by different conditions that can construct the vessels or inflame them. However, it can be prevented. It can be treated but that depends on if the underlying disease is treatable.


Read Also: Skin tags on the scrotum: Causes and treatment methods

Couperose Skin: Causes and Treatment Methods in 2022

Anal Skin Tags; Causes and Its Solutions in 2022.

What Causes Translucent Skin? Latest Treatment & Solutions

15 Major Causes and Remedies of Sallow Skin

Cigarette burns on Skin : 10 Best Solutions and Treatments





Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button