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What are the causes of bruising from scratching dry skin?

Updated June 13, 2017

Bruises result from broken blood vessels that leak near the skin's surface, and can appear as black, blue, purple, yellow or green areas on the skin. Fortunately, bruising as a result of scratching dry skin is preventable and treatable through lifestyle changes and self-care.

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Bruises related to scratching might result from a medical condition, such as eczema, that caused the dry skin, or from personal behaviours, such as scratching too hard or frequently.


Bruises from scratching dry skin might appear swollen, feel tender to the touch, appear as lines across the skin and occur all over the body.


Primary care physicians and dermatologists identify and diagnose the causes of bruising and dry skin. Patients might receive a physical exam and undergo blood tests for diagnosis of medical conditions that cause bruising and itching.


Women, people who are elderly and those who take blood thinners such as aspirin are more likely to easily bruise after scratching dry skin.


According to the Mayo Clinic, recommendations for treating bruises include elevating the affected area, applying cold packs several times daily and using a pain reliever such as acetaminophen.


Using a daily moisturiser, avoiding prolonged exposure to sunlight and hot showers or baths, and wearing long sleeves and trousers can protect the skin from bruises and reduce the urge to scratch.

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About the Author

Jessica Lietz has been writing about health-related topics since 2009. She has several years of experience in genetics research, survey design, analysis and epidemiology, working on both infectious and chronic diseases. Lietz holds a Master of Public Health in epidemiology from The Ohio State University.

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