Is Varicose Eczema Serious?

Yes, varicose eczema is serious, since it is a warning sign that the skin is being damaged by inflammation. If neglected and left untreated, varicose eczema will inevitably lead to a painful leg ulcer or worse.

Initial Stages

Varicose eczema may come and go. If you are healthy with a good immune system, your natural healing process will likely prevail. So as long as you are taking care of yourself and keeping the area moisturized, it may clear up giving you the impression that the condition has gone away completely.

However, as time goes by, as the damage gets worse, the injury caused by poor nutrient supply and lack of oxygen to the skin may exceed the body’s capacity to repair the skin. When this happens, the eczema will not get better. At that point, home remedies will no longer be effective. Although some of the damage may be reversible, more and more of the skin will be damaged beyond repair. At this stage, the skin may be permanently scarred and discolored.

When does this condition become an urgent problem?

Initially, varicose eczema starts out as a little rash that comes and goes. As it progresses past the initial stage it will not only become serious, but it will become urgent. The signs that it has become urgent and therefore needs medical care are:

  1. You scratch it in your sleep, damaging the skin, and actually causing a leg ulcer because of how itchy it is. You might even wake up in the morning to find the sheets have blood on them and your skin is broken with a leg ulcer.
  2. The area bleeds when you knock it because the skin is unhealthy and it will not heal properly.
  3. Your skin weeps and leaks fluid from the area of varicose eczema. In this case, you need to worry about infection.
  4. The varicose eczema has caused an actual infection. You will be able to tell if there is pus, spreading redness, and pain. Also, you may develop a high temperature, fever, shivers, or feel generally unwell. Seek immediate medical help.

What should you do if you have varicose eczema?

First and foremost, you should seek a medical opinion, preferably from a vein specialist. Varicose eczema is considered to be a serious medical condition. You have time to seek proper medical treatment, as it is not urgent–just don’t put it off too long.

What are the Home Remedies for Varicose Eczema?

The following home care practices may help reduce the symptoms of varicose eczema and help prevent them from worsening:

  1. Avoid injuring your skin – Injuries to your skin could lead to painful ulcerated areas.
  2. Raise your legs when you’re resting – Propping up your feet on some pillows (ideally so that they’re above the level of your heart) can help reduce swelling.
  3. Be physically active – Exercise will improve your circulation and help you maintain a healthy weight.
  4. Use a moisturizer — The last thing you want is dry, itchy skin that you want to scratch.
  5. Consider wearing compression stockings — You can order these to fit from your local durable medical supply.

Can Varicose Eczema be Cured?

Most of the time,  varicose eczema can be cured with non-invasive procedures under local anesthetic in an outpatient clinic setting. These include procedures such as laser, radiofrequency, foam sclerotherapy, or superglue.

However, if the varicose eczema has been a problem for many years, the skin may have been damaged beyond the body’s capacity to heal. There may also be permanent scarring. In that case, even if the underlying vein problem is cured, the skin may never return to normal. That’s why the sooner the veins are dealt with, the better.

Can’t I Just See My Dermatologist?

While dermatologists or GPs may have a lot of experience and knowledge of skins conditions, you can really only rely on them to make a diagnosis and help ease the itchy symptoms. After that, you will need the advice of a vein specialist so that the underlying vein problem can be treated and the underlying issues with veins dealt with. Long-term use of steroid creams, which can seem helpful in the early stages should be avoided, as they actually thin the skin, making it more vulnerable to injury.

varicose eczemaWhat is Varicose Eczema?

Varicose Eczema is an inflamed area of skin on the leg, with distinct color and texture changes. It is caused by a fault in the function of the veins under the skin called superficial venous reflux. It may also be caused by a problem in the deep veins following a deep vein thrombosis. Because it is a warning sign that you are at risk of a leg ulcer, it is considered to be a serious condition, particularly if symptoms become especially troublesome.

What is the cause of varicose eczema?

Varicose eczema occurs when blood doesn’t flow normally and the skin does not receive the nutrients and oxygen that it needs to remain healthy. As a result, the skin is damaged and becomes inflamed. As part of the body’s normal response to injury, the skin becomes red, itchy, and thickened. The areas of affected skin look very similar in the early stages, like a patch of dermatitis or eczema. However, the underlying problem with varicose eczema in the veins.

What does varicose eczema look like?

The characteristic feature of varicose eczema is where it is found on the leg. Virtually all cases of varicose eczema show up around the ankle, just above the ankle bones. As a precaution, any patch of dry, scaly, red itchy skin around the ankle should be considered varicose eczema until proven otherwise. Correct diagnosis by a vein specialist is crucial and should be done as soon as possible upon identifying these symptoms.varicose eczema on ankles


In the installation of this series of blog posts, we will discuss what to do if you think you have varicose eczema, the home treatments that can help, when to seek medical care, who is qualified to help, and what can happen if it is not treated. You will want to learn all you can about this potentially damaging condition.

If you suspect that you have varicose veins or a vein specialist has confirmed the diagnosis already, the next steps are crucial for your vein and overall health. For some people, varicose veins never progress past their current state. However, others may find the symptoms become increasingly worse. Worse yet, they could indicate a more serious underlying condition. Seeking non-surgical treatment of varicose veins is sometimes your best option.

At-home care for varicose veins

At a minimum, there are things you can start doing right away to reduce the symptoms and possibly keep your varicose veins from getting worse. These at-home care practices include:

  • Wearing compression stockings to reduce swelling and aid blood flow, helping slow down their development.
  • Exercising more regularly. Swimming, walking and, running are particularly effective.
  • Cutting down on foods high in fat and sugar.

When to see a specialist about non-surgical treatment of varicose veins

If you are experiencing symptoms like itching, swelling, and tired, achy legs, it is time to seek treatment with a vein specialist. These days, there are non-invasive treatment options available that do not require extensive surgery–as long as the condition is caught in time. These options are virtually pain-free, with no downtime, so you can pick up right where you left off with your life.

Diagram of a normal functioning vein with healthy vein valves, a varicose vein with damaged vein valves and then an image of how the varicose vein looks when compressed by wearing medical-grade compression stockings.


The benefits of non-surgical treatment for varicose veins are many, and include:

  • Fast recovery
  • 98% success rate
  • Extremely effective
  • No hospitalization
  • No general anesthetic
  • Medicare rebates apply
  • No downtime or time away from work

The vein specialists at Grand Junction Vein Center can help determine if you are a good candidate for non-surgical treatment of varicose veins. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.



Grand Junction Vein Center

2373 G Road #280
Grand Junction, Colorado. 81505
On the second floor of the Canyonview Medical Plaza
Tel: 970-242-VEIN (8346)