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Mottled Skin on Legs, Arms, Baby, Causes, Pictures, Treatment & Home Remedies

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Mottled skin on legs or arms is associated with various health conditions. Explore the meaning, pictures, causes, signs and symptoms, of mottles skin. Also, learn how to get rid of them with treatments and home remedies and when to see a doctor.

What Does Mottled Skin Mean

Mottled skin is also known as Livedo reticularis or dyschromia. This is a skin condition associated with pink, purple or blue lacy patches. Livedo reticularis is a skin discoloration that can appear on upper arms, hands, legs, shoulders, back, face or on any other parts of the body.

This condition may also appear on the skin of babies, teens, and even adults. However, it is common to patients who have underlying body condition such as cardiac problem, renal disorders, autoimmune disorders or any other body illness.

Skin discoloration happens when blood vessels under the surface of skin tissue fail to function. The blood vessel may constrict hence block the circulation of blood under the skin. Usually, heart disorders which result in poor circulation of blood in the body may lead to blue or purple lacy patches on the skin surface.

In most occasions, lacy blue or pink patches on the skin might be a sign of a serious health condition. In most occasions, patients with skin condition characterized by blue or pink lacy patches might not survive and it might be an indication of the end of life before death.

Typically, skin mottling may occur during the last week of life or in the final hours before death. A patient who is about to die may show various body changes including skin mottling, the decline in blood pressure, extreme cold on the skin, change in breathing, diminished intake of food and water.

Skin mottling before death may not cause any pain to the patient. However, the patient may feel extreme cold in the body. This may lead to shivering of the body. During this moment, caregivers can help to comfort the patient by covering them with warm blankets.

If you already have blue or purple patches on the skin stop worry because the patchy skin might not always be a sign of death. Livedo reticularis might be the consequence of other benign condition such as long exposure to direct sunlight or exposure to an extremely cold environment.

Generally, the word death might scare you if your skin has lacy patches. However, there is nothing to fear anymore because death is part of life that you cannot avoid when your times approaches the end of life. In addition, keep reading to know how to treat or fix the problem of mottled skin.

Signs and Symptoms

Mottling of the skin is associated with various signs and symptoms that include the following:

  • Blue, purple, red or pink lacy patches on the surface of the skin
  • Painless dark net of patches on the knees, feet, arms, and on other body parts
  • Lips, fingers, earlobes and nail beds turn light gray or blue
  • A feeling of extreme cold and body shivering
  • Difficulties in breathing
  • Increased heart rate while blood pressure decline below the normal
  • Diminished intake of food and water
  • Unconsciousness but sense of hearing is maintained
  • Eyeball turn to blue and eyelid may open wide

Causes of Molted Skin

Skin mottling may occur due to various reasons or factors. Some of these causal agents are natural factors like death that we cannot escape during the end of life. The following include the possible factors that may result in mottled skin:

1. Circulatory disorders

There are many known circulatory disorders that may lead to skin mottling. Cardiac or heart disorders such as hypotension can cause poor circulation of blood to the skin tissue. This has a consequence of the formation of blue or purple lacy patches on the skin surface.

Blockage of blood vessels due to clots or varicose vein are also circulatory disorders that may result in poor circulation of blood under the skin surface. This can result in blue or purple patches to show up on legs, arms or any other parts of the body.

2. Low platelet count in the blood

Platelet is a component of blood whose function is to initiate blood clotting process after an injury or a cut on the skin to stop bleeding. Skin mottling is common to individuals with a low percentage of platelet count in the blood.

3. Aging process

The process of aging is one of the risk factors that can encourage skin mottling. Blue or purple lacy patches on the skin are more common to people with advanced age. The more you become older or approaches the end of life, skin mottling also becomes more prominent and visible.

Circulatory disorders such as hypotension and blood clots in vessels are common at old age stage which can result in skin discoloration. Also, the skin tissue itself may turn into blue, purple or pink lacy spots on the surface due to aging.

4. Sun damage

Long exposure of the skin to direct sunlight in adults can result to skin mottling. Sunlight contains harmful UV rays that can cause acute or chronic damage to the skin cells. Blue lacy patches on the skin are one of the chronic damage of UV rays from the sun.

5. Use of anticoagulant

People who are under the use of anticoagulant therapy may notice the development of patches on various parts of their body.  Some of the anticoagulants drugs used to prevent clotting of blood in the vessels may result in the side effect of blue or purple irregular patches on the skin.

6. Underdeveloped circulatory system

Mottle skin in newborns or infants may show up due to the underdeveloped circulatory system or vascular system. Cutis Marmorata is a skin condition in babies or infants characterized by blue or purple lacy patches.

Skin mottling in newborns is an abnormal condition and it might even appear worrisome to parents. For this case, there is nothing to fear anymore because this condition in newborns is harmless and it can go away by time as your child continues to grow up.

7. Cold environment

Extreme cold is another factor that can encourage skin mottling. Low temperature can cause constriction of the blood vessel under the skin. This might result in poor circulation of blood on skin surface hence blue or purple lacy patches may show up.

Skin mottling is common in people who reside in the extreme cold environmental conditions. The time of winter in the southern hemisphere which is associated with very low temperature might cause cold stress on the skin. This can lead to mottling of the skin.

8. Other underlying body conditions

Underlying body conditions can also result in skin mottling. This condition includes; inflammatory breast cancer, tuberculosis, hepatitis C, Sneddon syndrome, Parkinson disease, and deficiency of nutrients.

Mottled Skin Pictures

How does skin mottling look like? This post contains clear pictures to show you how skin mottling look like for more visual understanding. These pictures clearly show how blue, purple, pink or red lacy patches on the skin can appear.

Mottled skin on Baby

If you notice skin mottling in your baby, this should not be the reason for you to worry. Usually, mottling of the skin in newborns, infants or toddler may occur due to various reasons which do not even require medical treatment. Skin mottling in newborns can go away with time.

A baby skin can develop irregular purple, blue, pink or red lacy patches on legs, arms or on any other parts of the body. Occasionally, this condition may affect the entire body skin of a newborn with blue or purple patches leading to a blue baby.

For the case of mottled skin in babies, it happens due to the decline of blood flow to the skin tissue. The underdeveloped circulatory system in infants is one of the major reasons that may result in a reduction of blood flow under the skin.

Skin mottling can also appear in newborns soon after the delivery. For this situation, blue patches on the skin might appear due injuries or rapture of blood vessels under the skin surface. skin injuries can happen during the process of giving birth.

The natural process of giving birth may cause pressure on the skin of the newborns. This is common especially if there is a birth complication that may lead to a delay in delivery. Babies that are born with blue patches on the skin are very healthy and these marks may disappear after few days.

Extreme cold is another factor that can lead to skin mottled skin in infants and toddlers. Low temperature can result to the constriction of the blood capillaries under the skin surface. Narrowing of the blood capillaries may result in the decline of blood supply in the skin tissue hence it can lead to skin discoloration.

Occasionally, infants born with circulatory disorders can show up a characteristic of skin mottling that won’t go away easily. Newborns with heart problems such as septum hole can develop blue lacy spots that might refuse to go away unless treatment is given.

Septum hole in the cardiac muscle is a serious circulatory disorder that can lead to death if treatment is not given. Perforation in the septum of the heart can allow the mixing of blood that contains oxygen and blood that contain carbon IV oxide. This may cause a deficiency of oxygen in the body which has the consequence of skin mottling.

Generally, as the babies continue to grow up, skin mottling progressively disappear. As your baby continues to develop, her circulatory system simultaneously develops fully enough which enable proper distribution of blood to all body parts.

Mottled Skin before Death

Skin mottling is one of the signs that can show the end of life. Mottling can occur one week or few hours before death. As the end of life approaches, the patients might develop purple or blue marble like patches on the legs, arms or on any other parts of the body.

Skin mottling in patients is a clear indication that can show life is about to end. It is significant to learn the common signs that can appear before death. This can help the caregivers to be aware of the period at which the patients may lose a life.

The condition of skin mottling before death occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood to the entire body parts. The blood pressure may decline and the blood flows slowly in the body which makes body temperature to decrease below normal.

At first, skin mottling might begin to show up on legs and arms. Purple, blue, pink or red lacy spots may appear on limps. As the hour to die approaches, these patches spread to other parts of the body and become more prominent.

Skin mottling may not be painful to patients who are about to die but it may cause a discomfort in the body of the patient. Due to a decrease in body temperature, the patients might feel an extreme cold in the whole body. Caregivers can help to comfort the patients by covering them with heavy warm blankets.

In addition, there are other signs and symptoms that may accompany mottled skin before death. These are physical changes that can show up in few hours before death. These changes are signs and symptoms of death that include the following:

  • Hands and legs may feel very cold to touch. This is because the body temperature of the patient may fall below the normal.
  • Nail bed, fingers, lips, and earlobes turn blue or purple due to decline in blood circulation in the skin tissue.
  • Blue, purple or red spots on knees and on lower feet. This coloration occurs when there is a deficiency of blood supply in the legs because of the decline in blood pressure to reach lower legs.
  • Difficulties in breathing. The rate of breathing changes and the patients may experience difficulties in breathing with rattling or gurgling sound.
  • Excess sleep. The patients begin to sleep most of the hours during the day and night. The metabolic rate slows down the fatigue in the body increases.
  • Permanent loss of appetite because of the decline of a demand for body The person may begin to refuse to eat even delicious meals and drinks.
  • There is an increased weakness of the body. The decline in the intake of food can lead to lack of body energy and increased physical weakness.
  • Unconsciousness or mental confusion. The patient might loss body senses although the sense of hearing can be maintained.
  • Fever in the body with wide fluctuation of body temperature
  • Blurry vision or blind spots in vision can be experienced by the patient. Sometimes the patient might not be able to interpret the sense of vision.
  • The rate of urination decline as the kidney stops to function. The patient may produce small concentrated smelly urine.


There are various treatment methods you can use to get rid of the mottled skin. You can use home remedies to treat blue or purple spots on the skin. Alternatively, medical treatment can be used to treat the underlying condition in the body that causes skin mottling.

Medical treatments are usually done by the doctors. In case your skin has signs and symptoms of mottling, visit your doctor who can help you in the treatment. Here are some of the methods that your doctor might use to treat your mottled skin which includes the following:

  • Prescription of oral drugs: the oral medicinal drugs can help to treat and cure underlying conditions in the body that causes skin mottling to show up. Circulatory diseases such as hypotension can be treated with the help of oral medications.
  • Medicinal injections: this is a direct transfer of medicinal drugs into the blood system with the help of syringe and needles to treat the underlying condition that causes skin mottling.
  • Medicinal creams: there are varieties of medicinal creams and location that can help to treat lacy patches on the skin surface.
  • Laser treatment. This treatment uses a strong beam of electrons to treat mottling spots on the skin surface.
  • Chemical peeling: this is the application of special acidic formulated creams to exfoliate the skin tissue which can help to remove lacy spots on the skin.
  • Surgical methods. Surgical treatment can be done on the skin tissue by the help of sharp sterilized tools such as a scalpel. This treatment can help to remove clots of blood under the skin tissue. It can also be used to treat heart problems such as septum hole in the heart muscles.

Home Remedies

You can also try the following home remedies to treat mottled skin:

  1. Green tea

Green tea has medicinal value that you can use as a home remedy to treat mottling skin. Green tea contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help to treat blue or purple lacy patches on the skin.

How to use:

  • Get one green tea bag and soak in warm cup of water for 15 minutes
  • Add oatmeal powder and mix to create a paste
  • Clean the affect skin parts with patches and dry it off with a washcloth
  • Apply the paste on the affected area of the skin
  • Allow it to stay on the skin for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water
  • Repeat the treatment twice per day for few weeks until lacy patches fade away
  1. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is known to treat various skin conditions including skin mottling. Aloe Vera has a natural antioxidant and ant microbe’s property that can help in the healing of blue or purple lacy patches on the skin. it also has the ability to soothe inflamed skin.

How to use:

  • Get Aloe Vera gel, cream or juice
  • Clean the affected part of the skin and dry it by using a towel
  • Apply the gel, cream or juice on the affected parts of the skin
  • Apply the treatment three times per day for few weeks until skin mottling go away
  1. Warm compress

This is the best home remedy for mottling skin that develops due to the extreme cold condition. Use warm water to compress the affected parts of the skin with blue lacy spots. This can help to warm the skin which activates the blood vessels to dilate and allow proper circulation of blood under the skin.

How to use:

  • Boil one cup of water
  • Soak the washcloth in hot water and carefully warm compress the affected parts of the skin
  • Repeat the treatment three times per day for few weeks until lacy spots or patches go away
  1. Ginger and lemon juice

Ginger and lemon juice is excellent home remedies that you can use to treat mottled skin. Ginger has the ability to increase the blood supply in the skin tissue. While lemon juice has citric acid that can help to exfoliate blue or purple lacy spots on the skin.

How to use:

  • Mix ¼ glass of ginger juice with ¼ lemon juice
  • Apply the solution on the affected parts of the skin with lacy patches
  • Alternatively, drink ¼ glass of the solution
  • Repeat the treatment two times per day until skin mottling goes away.
  1. Oatmeal

You can use oatmeal as a home remedy to get rid of the mottled skin. Oatmeal is an excellent skin moisturizer that can restore dry patchy skin to normal. It also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties which can help to heal blue lacy spots on the skin.

How to use:

  • Mix 2 teaspoon of oatmeal powder with 1 teaspoon of raw honey to create a paste
  • Apply the paste on the affected parts of the skin with blue or purple lacy marks
  • Allow it to stay on your skin for about 15 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water
  • Alternatively, mix one cup of oatmeal powder in bathing warm water and wash your body
  • Repeat this treatment once per day for few weeks until marble like spots fades away from your skin

You can treat your skin with any other home remedies that can help to get rid of skin mottling. Other home remedies include; baking soda, use of sunscreen, eating a balanced diet or any other applicable home remedy.

When to See a Doctor

It is advisable to see a doctor over mottled skin when you notice the following conditions:

  • When the discoloration on the skin doesn’t go away easily
  • When skin mottling is accompanied with other strange signs and symptoms of your concern
  • If discoloration advanced into strange bumps and painful ulcers
  • If your baby has blue or purple lacy spots on the skin that keeps you in worry.
  • When blue spots are painful and are threaten your health condition as well as your

Sources and References

[showhide type=”links” more_text=”Show Sources and References” less_text=”Hide Sources and References”]

  1. What does skin mottling mean: https://www.crossroadshospice.com/healthcare-professionals-resources/palliative-care-blog/2017/march/02/mottled-skin-before-death-what-is-it/
  2. Signs and symptoms of skin mottling: https://www.epainassist.com/skin/mottled-skin
  3. Causes of mottling of the skin: https://www.hxbenefit.com/mottled-skin.html
  4. Cause of mottling of the skin: http://howtocure.org/health/mottled-skin-meaning-causes-pictures-arms-legs-and-treatment/
  5. skin mottling picture: http://www.gettyimages.com/photos/mottled-skin?excludenudity=true&sort=mostpopular&mediatype=photography&phrase=mottled%20skin
  6. Skin mottling before death: http://www.livewithcare.org/the-guide/at-the-end-of-life/signs-of-approaching-death/
  7. Skin mottling and death: https://www.kindlycare.com/mottling-and-gurgling/
  8. Mottling skin treatment: http://www.tandurust.com/skincare/mottled-skin-causes-treatment.html
  9. Home remedies for skin mottling: https://www.dailyhealthcures.com/skin-care/mottled-skin-causes-home-remedies/
  10. When to see a doctor over skin discoloration: https://www.mayoclinic.org/livedo-reticularis/expert-answers/faq-20057864 [/showhide]

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