Purpura - Western SummaryWestern Medicine Summary

Western Medicine

Western Summary

Purpura characterizes bleeding into the superficial portion of the skin. It tends to happen after injury and in those with thinned skin. Those that are on blood thinning medications and who have thin skin on their arms and legs are at greater risk to develop purpura. Those that are on systemic steroids are at risk to develop purpura.[1] 


Purpura are due to the presence of bruising on the skin and appears as red to purple painless patches on the skin. They typically occur in areas of inflammation or in areas of thinning skin. 


There are many causes of purpura including trauma, bleeding disorders, inability of one’s blood to clot quickly, vitamin deficiencies, etc. There are also many medical conditions that are associated with purpura. Two variations on purpura include the following:

  • Solar purpura: The lesions are flat and cannot be felt by touching the skin. This occurs on the arms and due to thinned skin that allows for easy breakage of blood vessels with minor injury.
  • Palpable purpura: The lesions of purpura are raised rather than flat and occur as a result of inflammation of the blood vessels (known as vasculitis). 


If purpura are occurring due to an underlying medical condition then treatment of the condition might help decrease the occurrence. 

Lasers: Certain lasers that target blood cells can help decrease or get rid of purpura once present.

1.    McConkey B, Fraser GM, Bligh AS. Osteoporosis and Purpura in Rheumatoid Disease: Prevalancee and Relation to Treatment with Corticosteroids. Quarterly Journal of Medicine.1962;31(4):419-427; PMID.