This image displays numerous "cayenne pepper" flat lesions are formed when blood leaks into the skin. This image displays a large patch of capillaritis due to blood leaking into the skin. This image displays bright red and golden lesions from blood leaking into the skin.  This variant of capillaritis is known as lichen aureus.  Numerous deep red and purple elevations of the skin can be seen in capillaritis.  This image displays flat, cayenne-pepper-appearing areas of color change typical of capillaritis. This image displays cayenne-pepper colored skin lesions typical of capillaritis.
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Capillaritis  Information for adults

Picture of Capillaritis: This image displays numerous "cayenne pepper" flat lesions are formed when blood leaks into the skin. Divider line
This image displays numerous "cayenne pepper" flat lesions are formed when blood leaks into the skin.
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Overview
Capillaritis is characterized by leakage of red blood cells from small, superficial blood vessels that results in pinpoint-like hemorrhages (petechiae). Capillaritis is frequently found in patients with long periods of extended standing related to their occupations. A skin hypersensitivity reaction, salicylates and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the most commonly associated origins of capillaritis, though the precise cause is unclear. Capillaritis is usually a life-long condition, flaring intermittently.
Who's At Risk
Capillaritis is seen more frequently in adults, but it does occur in older children and adolescents.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common location for capillaritis is the leg, though it may manifest on the trunk and upper extremities. Capillaritis never presents on the face. Presentation may include:
  • Brown-red or deeply pigmented, pepper-like petechiae in dark-skinned individuals
  • Cayenne-pepper–colored petechiae in lighter-skinned individuals
  • Color variations in the lesions due to different stages of blood breakdown product (hemosiderin) reabsorption
Self-Care Guidelines
None necessary.
When to Seek Medical Care
Though capillaritis is a benign condition, another condition may be at work. The evaluation of a primary care physician or dermatologist should be obtained when unsure of the nature of a rash.
Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe
Treatment may include:
  • Mid-potency topical steroids (in case of itching)
  • Oral therapy with bioflavonoid and ascorbic acid

References

Bolognia, Jean L., ed. Dermatology, pp.361-362. New York: Mosby, 2003.

Freedberg, Irwin M., ed. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th ed, pp. 1737-1738. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
Last Updated: 22 Dec 2008