Brown spots, dark spots and veins on the legs that make wearing skirts and shorts difficult!

I am a 60 year old Caucasian woman who has hereditary hemochromatosis. I have had hemosiderin deposit staining on my legs since my early teens. I am frustrated and do not like to show my legs without hoisery. Makeup makes it look caked. Will a self tanner make the spots darker? I would really like to wear skirts, capris or even ankle pants, but I feel that the staining will draw everyone's attention to my legs. Any thoughts?

Many women and some men, especially over 50, feel self conscious enough about their legs that they are  changing clothing and activity choices.   I remember some years ago when I first realized this …….and how much it affects whether a woman with golf in knee-length shorts or put a bathing suit on and go swimming, etc.   Fixing or at least improving this problem often leads to some very positive lifestyle changes, in our clinic’s experience.

Some tattoo removal lasers seem to do well with the problem of hemosiderin (iron) staining in the skin.  But please don’t go to just any laser tattoo removal place.  Do your homework and find the best center with a lot of laser experience, a dermatologist or plastic surgeon on site regularly, and a good reputation.  It will save you time and money in the long run.   Expect to need multiple treatments – they can estimate for you approximately how many.

It occurs, as you know, with hemochromatosis (an inherited or acquired condition of too much iron retention), with blood thinners due to leakage of the red blood cells from vessels, and often varicose veins where there is increased pressure in the leg veins due to incompetent valves in the vein.

Generally a self tanner, if you can get it dark enough will help if the skin texture itself is smooth.    If you have growths, or uneven texture on your legs, the self-tanner will tend to soak into those and may look worse.

Also, we’ve seen some very good leg make-ups that work fairly well.   Be sure the make-up you tried is for the body not the face!!  🙂

Hope this helps,   Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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