There are many reasons for skin bruising. Falls, bumping into things, or other minor injuries are usually the cause. Most of the time, bruises are harmless, but they can signify that you have a health problem. If you notice bruising on your skin for no reason or change how often you’re bruising, don’t ignore it. Here are ten causes of skin bruising not to miss.
What Causes Bruising?
When you bump your skin, you break the tiny blood vessels under your skin. If your skin does not break, the blood from the blood vessels gets trapped under your skin. This injury causes a bruise. At first, the bruise may have a reddish color. Over time, as your body breaks down the blood and absorbs it, the bruise will change colors and fade. This process is all part of your body’s natural healing process. Bruises can last a couple of weeks or a few months to heal.
10 Reasons for Skin Bruising Never to Ignore
Why do some people experience bruising while others seem relatively less likely to sustain these injuries? Here are some of the primary causes of a bruise.
1. Liver damage can cause bruising
A damaged liver doesn’t make enough blood-clotting proteins. This deficiency causes bruising and bleeding. Unexplained, easy bruising is a symptom of cirrhosis of the liver.
2. Some cancers
Although bruising isn’t a common sign of cancer, these symptoms can occur with certain cancers like leukemia. If you notice bruising in weird places on your body, like your stomach, or suddenly have nose bleeds or bleeding gums, this could be a sign that your blood platelets are low, which could mean blood cancer.
3. Certain medications
Some medications thin the blood, making you bleed or bruise more easily. Blood thinners such as warfarin, heparin, or aspirin can cause bruising. Like antidepressants and steroids, other drugs weaken your blood vessels, so you bruise or bleed easier. Other medications that cause bruising or bleeding include these:
- Chemo drugs
4. Certain herbal remedies
Specific herbal remedies increase your risk of bruising. When you combine herbal remedies, you may experience unexplained bruising. Herbs that may lead to bruising include the following herbs:
- Large amounts of garlic
Combining a prescription medication with these herbal remedies will increase your risk of thinning your blood and bruising. It’s always best to talk with your doctor before taking an herbal remedy, especially if you’re already taking a prescription medication.
5. Alcohol abuse
Too much alcohol will damage your liver. Liver disease worsens over time, causing your liver to quit making proteins to help your blood clot. This causes injury and bleeding. You may also experience swelling in your legs, dark urine, and yellowish skin.
6. Bleeding disorders can cause bruising
Individuals with genetic bleeding disorders are prone to bruising and bleeding easily. Diseases like Hemophilia and Von Willebrand disease are two of the most common blood disorder diseases. These rare diseases cause excessive bleeding or bruising from the slightest injury. Other symptoms include
- Blood in your urine
- Blood in your stool
7. A vitamin deficiency
Your body contains vitamins to help clot your blood. If you don’t produce enough of these vitamins, your body will bleed or bruise easily. A lack of vitamin C leads to scurvy, which causes bleeding gums. Scurvy is uncommon today, but it still occurs in some developing countries. Studies show that in the United States, 10 to 14% of adults have a vitamin C deficiency. Other vitamin deficiencies that cause bruising include the following:
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Vitamin K deficiency
8. Getting older
As you age, skin gets thinner, and your blood vessels grow weaker. Older people have less fat and collagen to cushion blood vessels. Your blood vessels lose their elasticity as you get older, so they’re more susceptible to getting damaged or broken.
9. Sun damage
Overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun can break down the collagen in your skin. This causes your skin to thin and bruise easily. The elasticity of your skin and lack of collagen cause damage near your skin’s surface, making your skin fragile and easily damaged.
10. Being female
Women’s skin bruises more quickly than men’s skin. Men have thicker skin and higher collagen to protect their blood vessels. On the other hand, women have higher levels of estrogen to preserve their blood vessel walls, which helps blood vessels open and close so blood slips out before it has time to clot.
11. Malnutrition causes bruising
Your diet affects how well your body functions. A junk food diet makes you susceptible to health problems, poor skin, and low energy. Individuals with an unhealthy diet may, over time, experience these symptoms:
- Bleeding gums
- Low iron which causes bruising
- Feeling irritable
Low iron creates poor blood cell function that your body doesn’t get enough oxygen. This lack makes your skin bruise more easily.
12. Overdoing exercise
If you exercise specific muscles too hard, you’ll develop bruises in the areas around these muscles. When you strain a muscle, you may injure muscle tissue underneath your skin. This injury bursts the blood vessels in this area to pool blood and create a bruise. Take it easy when you exercise so you don’t cause undue damage to your muscle tissue.
People with diabetes experience bruising because it takes a long time for their skin to heal. Bruises last longer than other people’s bruises. Because it takes a long time to heal, individuals who have diabetes need not injure themselves. Other symptoms of diabetes you should notice include:
- Increase in urination
- Increased thirst
- Increase in hunger
- Weight loss even when you’re not trying
- Blurry vision
- Numbness in your hands or feet
- Tingling pain in your feet or hands
15. You’re fair-skinned
People with fair skin may bruise more than dark-skinned individuals. Pale-skinned people aren’t prone to health issues that cause bruising. It could be true because bruises on fair-skinned people like redheads or blondes are easier to see.
Bruising easily can be a symptom of a bacteria infection called sepsis. Individuals with sepsis often get a rash with tiny blood spots on their skin. If the condition worsens, the areas get more extensive and look like bruises. These bruises can get larger, turning your skin purple.
17. Genetic tendency
If your parents or siblings bruise easily, your family may have a genetic trend toward bruising. It’s uncertain if fair-skinned people bruise easier or it’s just easier to see bruises on fair-skinned people’s skin. Whatever the reason, if you have noticed your relatives have lots of bruises, you probably will too.
18. Low blood platelet count
Your blood platelets must function properly to help stop bleeding. Certain autoimmune conditions lower your blood platelet count. The disease prevents your blood platelets from working well. Thus, your blood is unable to clot. This will cause bruising on your skin.
What Can You Do to Prevent Bruising?
Some things listed are things you can do to prevent bruising. Some items on the list may be out of your control. The one thing you can do is limit the number of bruises you receive from bumps or falls. Here are suggestions to protect yourself from damage.
- Make your house safer: Keep open walkway areas and clear out the clutter, so you don’t fall. Make sure you have good lighting to avoid running into furniture.
- Use sunscreen: Apply sunscreen every day. When the sun doesn’t feel as intense, wear sunscreen even on winter days. This protective layer will prevent sun damage to your skin, especially when you’re older.
- Avoid taking NSAIDs: Avoid taking too many over-the-counter pain relievers since they will thin your blood.
- Check your medications: If you notice bruising after you take a pill, check to see if it has blood-thinning properties you should know. Don’t take an herbal remedy unless you’re sure it’s safe to take with your medications.
When should you be concerned enough about bruising to see a doctor?
Typically, bruising is not a cause for worry. But if you notice unusual bruises, try cutting back on aspirin or other pain relievers. Improve your diet to ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs. See your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- A mark that gets larger over time or…
- It doesn’t go away after two weeks
- Bleeding that you can’t stop
- Severe pain or tenderness in your legs, arms, neck, or head
- Night sweats soak your clothes
- Unusually heavy menstrual periods or large blood clots in your menstrual periods
Final Thoughts on Understanding the Reasons for Skin Bruising and How to Prevent It
Skin bruising is usually because of a minor injury. When the blood vessels under your skin get broken, the blood has nowhere to go, so it pools, forming a bruise. This type of bruising is harmless, but don’t ignore it if you notice an injury for no reason. Symptoms like swelling, pain, irritation, or numbness could show you have a severe condition. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you notice unexplained bruising or other symptoms. Being proactive could make a difference in staying healthy.