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Dr. Nair
Dr. Nair, Dermatologist
Category: Dermatology
Satisfied Customers: 9116
Experience:  MBBS, MD (Dermatology, Venereology & Leprology)
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every time I bump my hand I get a huge blood type bruise. also

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every time I bump my hand I get a huge blood type bruise. also if I itch my arm I get same bruising. It is only on my left hand and arm. I am 55 yrs old. Is there anything I can do

How long has this been happening?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
This started about 8 or 9 months ago and just recently getting worse. I asked a family doctor about it and she just kind of took it as sun damage and saying nothing I could do about it. That is why I started using the retin a. I figued if it is good for my face it may do some good on my hands. I do spend some time out doors in the summer but I don't tan myself. I do try to keep sunscreen on as much as possible. When I was younger I did tan like most girls my age did. I do live in florida so the sun does get brutal here. If it is from sun damage why is it only on one side and not the other? Also is there anyway to at least get it under control some?
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Thank you for the information. Your history is consistent with a diagnosis of Senile Purpura. Though this usually happens form the 60's and 70's onwards it can start much younger particularly in people who have had a lot of sun exposure in life.

Now this is not a pathological condition per se but an age related change due to weakening of the dermal connective tissue (collagen & elastin - skin proteins that give it its texture and strength). Minor unnoticed trauma precipitates small bleeds into the skin.

I would however recommend getting your hemogram, prothrombin time and platelet count checked just to be safe and rule out decreased platelet count or a blood disorder as a cause of the easy bruising. Drugs like aspirin and clopidogrel make it worse so should not be used if possible.

Chronic UV radiation damage from sunlight can hasten the onset of senile purpura due to UV light induced breakdown of skin collagen and elastin fibres. Therefore in many patients the worst affected areas are the back of the hands and lower forearms - areas which get the most sun during life. Often one side is affected more than the other. Its no clear why but in some people it is definitely the side that gets more sun while driving from driver side window.

For established bruises Heparin ointment applied four times a day for 2-4 weeks will help. For prevention using an SPF 50+ sunscreen on all photoexposed areas (2-3 times a day) and 500 mg of Vitamin C everyday are helpful. Retin-A is also helpful and can used on a permanent basis. You're already doing most of the correct things!

Vitamin C is a coenzyme in the chemical reaction in the body that makes new skin protein (collagen & elastin). This leads to better support for the small blood vessels in the skin, leading to less damage from minor trauma.

All these should be available over the counter.

Hope this information is useful, please feel free to ask if you have any queries.
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