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Don’t freak out — skin discoloration is way more common than you think. Still, if your legs have been quickly shifting hues, or if you’re wondering why your legs are slowly changing colors, you probably have a few questions about why — and how you can stop it.

We are vein specialists working in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area, and as a result, we’ve seen legs of all shapes, sizes and, importantly for this article, colors. If your legs are turning brown and blue, we’re here to tell you why and how you can put an end to it once and for all — and even change them back.

Why are my legs changing colors?

To answer this question, we have to talk about venous insufficiency.

Venous insufficiency basically means that your veins have lost their effectiveness at moving blood from your legs back into your heart. While this isn’t immediately dangerous (though it can be over time, as we’ve detailed in a previous article), it can cause pain, itchiness, hardness and, naturally, a change in color. 

Left untreated, these newly-colored patches can become irritated and flaky. This can lead to further discoloration and, potentially, breakage that may be followed by bleeding and the formation of open sores.

Should I be concerned about my leg skin color change?

First, we should note that a majority of issues stemming from leg veins can be solved with relative ease, quickness, and with a lack of pain. In our practice, we help people find the treatment they need and can solve their issues fast, and often, our clients can return to work on the same day as their treatment.

Because of how easy these issues are to resolve, we encourage you to be proactive about treating your leg vein issues, and we can work with you to develop a plan best suited to your life and schedule.

However, if you’re just worried about when you should be concerned about your leg skin discoloration, we can answer that question as well. As these patches of discoloration can slowly grow and cause bigger problems, we recommend seeking treatment as soon as you spot one of these patches — or, if you have consistent vein issues such as spider veins and varicose veins, it is advisable to receive treatment before these patches even form.

Additionally, skin discoloration can be indicative of a series of larger vein-related problems. If you see a patch of skin discoloration, it won’t cause an immediate issue — but you are strongly advised to seek a specialist as soon as possible to resolve it.

How do I treat my leg skin color change?

In our practice, we have found a few treatments to be particularly effective in resolving discoloration issues.

Depending on the specifics of your situation, we employ several different methods to resolve issues regarding skin discoloration. For example, we have used laser sclerotherapy for such problems.

We’ve detailed the process further in a previous blog post, but to offer a brief summary, laser sclerotherapy involves aiming a pointed light at the problem veins, causing them to collapse and the blood therein to dissipate into other areas. While your skin may still be discolored for a period following the treatment, after a while, the color of the skin should return to normal.

Another treatment we’ve found to be extremely successful is Ambulatory Phlebectomy. We’ve done a full breakdown of the procedure here — in short, it’s just another way we take care of problem veins.

No matter what treatment is best for your vein issue, modern vein treatment is a low-pain, non-time consuming process, meaning that you don’t need to be afraid of being out-of-commission for days following a treatment. As we said, in most cases, clients can return to their normal, day-to-day lives mere hours following a treatment, if not sooner.

Can I prevent further discoloration?

Once your skin has started to discolor, there is nothing you can do short of treatment to reverse the color change. Ointments and creams may have some short-term impact, but, as the root problem lies under the skin, the only way to truly resolve the issue is to seek vein treatment.

If this is something that interests you, do not hesitate to reach out. We will be happy to answer your questions, address any concerns, and work with you to set up a consultation or appointment for treatment.