The day was tiring, and all I needed was a hot shower. However, after the soothing shower, things got shocking with a shrieking exclamation: “Why are my legs blue after a hot shower?”
After a hot shower, does it ring any bell, experiencing red, blue, or purple legs? If your answer is “yes,” you are in the proper place to get your answer.
After a hot or cold shower, blue or purple legs and feet are a pretty common condition. Often the situation is harmless, occurring due to the hot water or decreasing oxygen level. However, it can usually indicate a severe medical condition: a sign of circulation issue, blood pooling, cyanosis, etc.
Let’s discover what can cause your purple feel after the hot shower and how to manage it.
Why Are My Legs Blue After A Hot Shower?
Experiencing purple, red, or blue skin while having a hot shower is uncommon. However, why do you have this?
There are several discussions about this condition; however, the real reason for purple feet during a hot shower is still a mystery.
The simple conclusion to this issue is the intensity of hot water. Often your skin reacts to fluctuating temperature; responding to the heat of warm water often causes a thermal regulation process.
Your skin can regulate your temperature. When your skin comes in contact with warm water, your body also warms up. The tiny blood vessels on the surface of your skin enlarge, allowing the blood to flow, cooling you down.
During the process, the local dilation or enlarging blood vessels leads to increased blood flow, resulting in purple, blue, or red skin in your leg and feet.
Besides, when your blood vessels dilate, your body encounters less pressure inside those vessels. As a result, it becomes more challenging for the heart to pump blood to your chest from your feet.
Therefore, when there are bruise-like blotchy patches on your leg after a hot shower, these are the dilated blood vessels visible through your skin. However, a common condition, fair-skinned people encounter this condition more.
Alongside, purple feet may mean congested blood on the surface, indicating your skin and the surface below may have some bruise.
Another reason for purple feet after a hot shower is the decreasing oxygen in your system. When you take a shower, you breathe steam more than clear oxygen. As a result, your body encounters less oxygen transmission, causing bluish or purplish blood – so, the purple skin.
However, the purple skin after a shower can be alarming, indeed. It may indicate some underlying medical condition needing immediate medical attention. Several medical conditions can make your skin look blue or purple after showering – varicose veins, Xerosis cutis, Cyanosis, Ischemic foot, etc.
Therefore, make an appointment with your doctor to diagnose your alarming condition properly. Contact My Concierge, MD, for a comprehensive examination, evaluation, and advice from skilled and expert doctors.
The Medical Conditions Causing Blue or Purple Skin
“Why are my legs blue after a hot shower?” Several possible reasons can cause your skin to be blue after a shower. Sometimes the issue arises due to harmless conditions; many times, an underlying medical condition can be the culprit.
The primary task of your veins is to pump blood back up to your heart. However, it sounds simple; the job is tough as they often have to fight gravity to get back blood up to your heart. Especially for the veins in your legs as they have a long way to climb.
Blood polling or venous blood pooling usually occurs due to chronic venous insufficiency. It’s a vein issue, having weak or damaged veins unable to do their job correctly.
A hot shower dilates your blood vessels, causing less pressure. It makes it difficult for the veins to take back blood to your heart. As a result, blood pools in your legs, ankles, and feet, and you notice red or blue patches.
Varicose veins are a venous issue with dilated, swollen, and twisting veins. They usually develop when you have damaged valves in the veins. It causes your blood to flow in the wrong direction, collecting your blood in a vein.
In fact, varicose veins are the primary reason for blood pooling in the legs after a shower.
When you have extra dry skin, you have xerosis cutis. Dry skin can often result in bluish, purplish, or reddish skin after a hot shower.
When you soak your skin in warm water for a long time, it strips your skin of its natural oil. As a result, you often notice mottled marks accompanied by itching after showering.
Cyanosis is another medical condition that can cause a bluish tint on your legs after showers. It occurs due to a lack of sufficient oxygen in your blood.
Blood rich in oxygen is usually bright red color. But, when your blood encounters a lower oxygen level, red becomes darker red blood with reflecting blue light. As a result, your skin appears bluish.
A hot shower often causes suffocation due to steam, inducing a shortage of oxygen in your blood. There are different types of cyanosis; however, it’s peripheral cyanosis, or acrocyanosis, that primarily affects your hands and feet, causing a bluish-purplish shade.
However, if you notice a bluish tint on your skin without even taking a shower, there must be an underlying issue preventing blood from returning to your heart. Therefore, seek immediate medical attention.
Livedo reticularis is a skin symptom of having a netlike pattern of reddish-blue skin bruise – especially in your legs. It occurs due to dilated or swollen blood vessels or problematic blood circulation near the skin.
When your skin comes in contact with hot water, the blood vessels dilate to escape the body’s heat. These enlarged veins don’t let the blood return to your heart and collect more blood than usual. As a result, you notice bluish bruises on your legs.
However, it occurs due to the skin’s contact with warm water; cold water makes the condition more intense and worse.
With these conditions, several health conditions can cause your purplish feet after a shower. These conditions include-
- Raynaud’s disease
- Ischemic foot
- Deep vein thrombosis
- And many more
To treat your condition, your doctor will determine the reasons first. Often it’s not severe; however, if an underlying condition is causing the bluish tint, your physician will treat that first.
For Blood Pooling
Doctors usually treat blood pooling with the plan of improving blood flow. Regular exercise and wearing compression stockings are initial advice that they suggest. In addition, they may recommend several treatment options that include-
- Endovenous Laser Therapy
- Radiofrequency Ablation
For Varicose Veins
Varicose veins usually need self-care measures. Doctors may suggest surgeries or other medical procedures if self-care doesn’t improve the condition.
- Self-care – exercise, raise the legs when sitting or lying down, wear compression stockings, etc.
- Surgeries or other medical procedures – Sclerotherapy, Laser treatment, High ligation and vein stripping, etc.
For Xerosis Cutis
Keeping your skin moist is the primary focus of xerosis cutis treatment. For these, your doctor may suggest-
- An oil-based cream
- Creams containing lactic acid, urea, or both
- A topical steroid medication for itching
Several treatment plans are there for cyanosis that doctors suggest evaluating your condition. Some focus on symptomatic issues, others the underlying condition.
- Heat therapy
- Oxygen therapy
- Intravenous fluid
- Medications for several conditions – patent ductus arteriosus, improved pumping, heart disease, pneumonia, etc.
- Surgery for congenital heart defects
For Livedo Reticularis
Livedo Reticularis usually occurs due to exposure to cold that is generally removed on its own. However, if an underlying condition is causing the issue, doctors perform thorough investigations for a proper diagnosis to plan the correct treatment. The conditions may include-
- cold agglutinins
- Autoimmune disease
- Coagulation disorders
Tips For Better Health
Self-care is always essential when it comes to any medical condition. Your skin protects you; your legs carry you, and your feet keep you stand. Therefore, it’s necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle to boost your body’s defense mechanism.
Just a few measures, and you can keep the unwanted issues at bay.
- Manage your weight
- Do regular exercise
- Eat a healthy diet
- Quit smoking and alcohol
- Limit caffeine, beverages, and processed food
- Stay hydrated
Why are my legs blue after a hot shower? Well, now you know the reasons. Therefore take precaution and action to handle the imposter.
Contact My Concierge, MD, to get expert advice, support, and guidance from skilled doctors to manage your condition. They will perform a comprehensive investigation and evaluation of your situation to plan the right treatment option for you.
Remember, your legs carry you your whole life. Therefore, taking care of them and keeping them healthy and fit is your priority.