What could these discolored spots be

Discoloration of the skin: These diseases can be behind it


What can discoloration of the skin mean?

Any change in skin color that does not match your natural skin tone is known as skin discoloration. Discoloration of the skin can be harmless, but it can also be dangerous. Some indicate an illness. Others are purely cosmetic in nature. External influences can also cause skin discoloration, which either occurs briefly or persists permanently.

Symptoms & complaintsRed spots on the body: reasons and treatment

What types of skin discoloration are there?

The color palette of the skin discoloration ranges from blue to yellow, red, brown and purple. The most common non-hyperpigmentation discolorations of the skin include the following:

Fire Mark: Red to purple color

A congenital, benign skin lesion in which the Blood vessels dilate just below the surface of the skin are. This leads to the red to purple color. Usually the fire mark is already present at birth or develops in early childhood. If this skin discoloration occurs on the face, treatment from a cosmetic point of view may be necessary.

Erythema ab igne - the "red of fire"

The "fiery red" or Buschke heat melanosis is from prolonged exposure to heat on the skin caused. A reticulate reddening of the skin forms, which can also recede. If the heat exposure is permanent or regular, the erythema ab igne turns brown and becomes irreversible. The cause is hot water bottles, but also electric blankets or heated seats, so that this type of skin discoloration often occurs on the spine or the entire back. Discoloration of the skin on the legs is also common - especially if an electric blanket is the cause.

Cold marbling: reticulate skin discoloration

It is practically the opposite of erythema ab igne. The cold marbling shows up as a purple, reticulated skin discoloration. Cause is that Contraction of the blood vessels in extreme cold. The pattern disappears as soon as the skin warms up.

Yellow spots indicate jaundice

This type of skin discoloration is one of the most common. It is triggered by diseases of the bile or liver. The causes can range from gallstones to liver cancer. If the skin turns yellow, you should always consult a doctor.

Diseases & Treatment Jaundice Symptoms: The skin turns yellow

Cyanosis: blue discoloration of the skin

In the vernacular, it is also known as "blue addiction", because it involves large areas of blue discoloration of the skin. You show that yourself too little oxygen in the blood is located. If the blue color occurs acutely, it can indicate a life-threatening condition - in such cases an emergency doctor must be called immediately. With chronic occurrence, the skin discoloration is usually a symptom of another disease, such as one Heart defect or varicosis (Varicose veins).

Skin changes from breast cancer and radiation therapy

Symptoms of breast cancer are not limited to the palpable lumps. Discoloration of the skin on the breast may also indicate this. This discoloration can be of various types. Women, the one Discoloration of the skin on the chest determine should be clarified by the gynecologist. The treatment of breast cancer, especially radiation therapy, can cause skin discoloration on the breast as a late reaction.


Is discoloration of the skin in the genital area dangerous?

Discoloration of the skin can occur anywhere on the body, including the genital area. For example, a reddish discoloration of the glans can indicate balanitis Inflammation of the glans, suggest. Red, blotchy skin discoloration in the genital area, which is also accompanied by itching, can appear in both men and women Yeast infection or venereal diseases such as gonorrheaindicate. Skin discoloration in the genital area should therefore always be examined by a specialist to be on the safe side.


Unclear skin changes, in: Professional Association of German Dermatologists

Abeck, Dietrich (2020): Frequent skin diseases in general medicine, Berlin: Springer-Verlag

Röcken, Martin et al. (2010): Pocket Atlas Dermatology: Basics, Diagnostics, Clinic, Stuttgart: Thieme Verlag