What causes blanching of skin? 17 possible conditions

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Definition

Blanching of skin occurs when the skin becomes pale in response to gentle pressure.

Alternative Names

Blanched skin, skin blanches, skin turns white.

Synopsis

Detecting changes in skin color is challenging because there is such a wide range of skin coloration in all individuals. Subtle changes like skin blanching may occur gradually over time, or there may be a sudden onset. Blanching of skin is usually a localized reaction and may be a sign that the skin tissue is not receiving its usual blood supply due to swelling, cold, or other problems, such as insufficient blood flow through the vessels.

Associated Diagnoses

  • Raynaud’s phenomenon
  • Vitiligo
  • Smallpox
  • Ringworm
  • Shock
  • Frostbite
  • Burns
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Dermatitis
  • Insect bites and stings
  • Eczema
  • Anemia
  • Pemphigoid
  • Impetigo
  • Pressure ulcers

Diagnosis and Treatment

Doctors are continually developing tools for effectively measuring skin blanching in individuals with varying amounts of melanin pigment in the skin. Although a subtle symptom, blanching of the skin remains an important indicator of overall health. A comprehensive examination, history and physical are required and diagnostic studies such as laboratory tests may be necessary. Treatment will depend on the underlying condition.

Call 911 if:

Blanching of the skin is accompanied by:

  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Air hunger or gasping for breath
  • Shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
  • Chest pain
  • Sweating profusely

Blanching of Skin News

Skin Cell Transplant May Offer New Hope to Vitiligo Patients

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See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.

1

Raynaud's Phenomenon

Raynaud's phenomenon is a condition where blood flow to your fingers, toes, ears or nose is restricted or interrupted. This occurs when the blood vessels in your hands or feet constrict. Episodes of constriction ar...

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2

Hypovolemic Shock

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Hypovolemic shock is a life-threatening condition that results when you lose more than 20 percent (one-fifth) of your body's blood or fluid supply. This severe fluid loss makes it impossible for the heart to pum...

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3

Cardiogenic Shock

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Cardiogenic shock is a rare condition in which the heart is so damaged that it is unable to supply sufficient blood to bodily organs. Sweating and cold extremities are potential signs of this condition.

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4

Anemia

Anemia occurs when the number of healthy red blood cells (RBCs) in the body is too low. Red cells carry oxygen to all the body's tissues, so a low red blood cell count indicates that the amount of oxygen in the blood i...

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5

Chemical Burns

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Chemical burns occur when the skin or eyes come into contact with irritants, such as acids or bases. Symptoms vary, but skin reactions, pain or numbness are common.

Read more »

6

Frostbite

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Exposure of the skin to extreme or prolonged cold can result in frostbite. Lesions on the skin are one sign of extreme frostbite.

Read more »

7

Burns

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

A burn is damage to the skin or body tissue from exposure to heat, ultra-violet light, radiation, hot liquid, steam, fire, flammable liquids or gases, chemicals, or electricity. Minor burns typically heal on their ow...

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8

Septic Shock

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Septic shock is a complication of an infection in which toxins can initiate a full-body inflammatory response and organ failure. Confusion, breathing problems, chills, and cold sweats.

Read more »

9

Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis, or sun spots, is a common skin condition. It occurs when skin cells grow abnormally, forming scaly, discolored spots.

Read more »

10

Anaphylaxis

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

When people with severe allergies are exposed to their allergen, a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis can result: a series of symptoms such as rash, abdominal pain, and difficulty breathing and shock.

Read more »

11

Psoriasis Overview

Psoriasis is a chronic disease characterized by red patches on the skin, often accompanied with silvery-white scales of dead skin cells. It is not contagious.

Read more »

12

Eczema

Eczema is a common skin condition hallmarked by itchy and inflamed patches of skin, particularly on faces in infants, as well as inside the elbow and behind the knees of children, teenagers, and adults. Also commonl...

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13

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a condition that makes skin red or inflamed after contact with a particular substance. Contact dermatitis is either the result of an allergen or an irritant. Allergic dermatitis usually appear...

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14

Impetigo

Impetigo is a highly contagious skin condition. It usually occurs on the face, neck, and hands of young children and infants. Children who wear diapers also tend to get it around the diaper area. Impetigo occurs mor...

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15

Lichen Planus

Lichen planus is a common skin rash that is not contagious. Common symptoms may include lesions in the mouth which may be painful or cause a burning sensation.

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16

Pemphigoid

Pemphigoid is a rare autoimmune disorder that can develop at any age, but that most often affects the elderly. Pemphigoid is caused by a malfunction of the immune system and results in skin rashes and blistering on th...

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17

Ichthyosis Vulgaris

Ichthyosis vulgaris is a skin condition that causes dry, dead skin cells to accumulate in patches on the surface of your skin. It's also known as "fish scale disease" because the dead skin accumulates in a simila...

Read more »

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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