Livedo reticularis is thought to be due to spasms of the blood vessels or an abnormality of the circulation near the skin surface. It makes the skin, usually on the legs, look mottled and purplish, sort of a net-like pattern with distinct borders.
Sometimes livedo reticularis is simply the result of being chilled. But it may be a symptom of a serious underlying condition, such as vascular disease, an endocrine disorder or a rheumatologic disease, such as lupus. Livedo reticularis rarely may be related to a complication of kidney dialysis known as calciphylaxis. And it may occur as a side effect of certain medications, such as a type of interferon used to treat multiple sclerosis.
When to see a doctor
Most often livedo reticularis needs no treatment, but see your doctor if:
May. 31, 2014
- Pain or discomfort accompanies livedo reticularis
- Painful nodules develop in the affected skin
- Ulcers develop in the affected skin
See more Expert Answers
- AskMayoExpert. Livedo reticularis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2013.
- Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookid=682. Accessed Jan. 29, 2014.
- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=740. Accessed Jan. 29, 2014.
- Papadakis MA, ed., et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2014. 53rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookId=330. Accessed Jan. 29, 2014.
- Rot U, et al. Interferons beta have vasoconstrictive and procoagulant effects: A woman who developed livedo reticularis and Raynaud phenomenon in association with interferon beta treatment for multiple sclerosis. Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery. 2013;115(suppl):79.
- Blackmon JA, et al. Oxalosis involving the skin: Case report and literature review. Archives of Dermatology. 2011;147:1302.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 30, 2014.