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Ecchymosis: Causes, Symptoms, Pictures, Treatment – Overview

There are a lot of medical conditions that can seem to be very dangerous and scary to people who have it, while it is very easy to diagnose and harmless with proper treatment.

Ecchymosis is one of those skin conditions, which can confuse you and may make you feel discomfort either pain wise or appearance.

We present you with the following article to understand what does it mean exactly and how can be treated?

Ecchymosis Definition

A skin condition which develops due to the fact that the blood circulates on the very thin layer of the skin.

The visual of such skin condition comes in the shape of a discolored spot, but a much larger in size approximately 1 centimeter or larger. It is often a flat spot with colors mixed between blue and purple.  Sometimes you may feel a slight pain according to the severity of your spot.

Ecchymosis medical definition

Discolored spots caused by the erupted blood from the vessels. the blood circulated within the thin layer of the skin rather than inside the blood vessels which results in the discoloration and sometimes pain [1].

What’s Ecchymosis

Ecchymosis is described as a type of bruises since like a normal bruise it is the circulation of blood outside the blood vessels. It is given different medical terms according to the size of the discolored spot.

First, there is “petechiae” which is a bruise with a size less than 3 millimeters.

The second type is “purpura” where the bruise is not larger than 1 centimeter.

Last but not least there is ecchymosis which is larger than 1 centimeter.

Symptoms and signs of ecchymosis

Ecchymosis is typically harmless condition. The causes behind it can be a major threat to your health.

You must consult with your doctor if you do not know the cause behind your spots. The doctor can discover a much dangerous disease behind it and help you treat it.

  • Associated symptoms may appear in the shape of reddish, blue and purple spots which can differ in size. Discoloration might be noticeable since ecchymosis can be on a large spot of your body.
  • You may also experience a sort of pain but not a vital one. The pain depends on how serious your spot is, some people do not even feel pain at all.
  • Possible inflammation due to the tissue damage on the level of your thin skin. The inflammation might be slight or serious according to how serious your discolored spot is.

Other than these signs you will not know it is actually ecchymosis until you see a doctor. Because you would think it is only a bruise that you did not notice how you got it from.

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Causes of Ecchymosis

The first thing people think about when seeing an ecchymosis spot is a bruise which was caused by a punch or a fight, However, there are other reasons such as internal health conditions and diseases that might cause the ecchymosis.

Here is a list that includes other causes:

  • Liver disease

    Since the liver is a vital organ which monitors the circulation, storage, and filtering of the blood in the body. Your liver can cause ecchymosis spots if it is affected or does not function in a proper manner, which will cause a disorder in the blood circulation, filtering, and distribution [2].

  • Bulimia

    Bulimia [3] is associated with vomiting the majority of times. Thus if you tend to put your hand into your mouth in order to deliberate vomiting you are at risk of having ecchymosis on the level of your fingernails.

    When you put your hand in your mouth your fingers are automatically going to touch the back of your throat and your knuckles touch your teeth. After doing this over a long period of time and clenching your fist after, and if you start developing ecchymosis.

  • Leukemia

    Leukemia occurs due to overproduction of the white blood cells. This condition makes the human body or skin venerable towards bruises. Meaning that bruises easily appear and can develop into ecchymosis as well [4].

  • Lack of vitamin C

    Vitamins deficiency is another factor that causes ecchymosis, this case mostly affects children who are under 5 years old.

    Children usually tend to be picky eaters so you have to feed them food which contains different types of vitamins without neglecting their nutrition schedule. It happens with adults who are on a diet and sometimes severe diets.

    Going on a diet does not mean to deprive yourself of food that contains a high level of vitamins. If you do not know how your body would react to such a diet consult a nutritionist for advice [5].

  • Multiple myelomas

    This type of factor happens because of the disorder on the level of plasma growth in the human bone marrow.

    Ecchymosis happens when the amount of the plasma cell starts to increase over time until it develops and causes ecchymosis when reaching advanced stages [6].

  • Acute renal failure

    This condition refers to the lack of kidney function. It happens when your kidney fails to do a proper job of sorting out wastes.

    The more your kidney malfunctions the higher wastes increase in your blood which consequently leads to the development of ecchymosis [7].

  • Aging

    Aging is a natural factor that might cause ecchymosis. Getting old means that your health does not remain the same and certain organs might start malfunctioning.

    The late internal operations cause The blood circulation suffer from a disorder. Basically getting old might contribute to ecchymosis more often the more a person gets old [8].

Ecchymosis area

There is no specific area to where ecchymosis may appear on your body. there is a certain speculation about what makes it appear on a certain area other than the other. Supposedly the disease or health condition causing your ecchymosis is the factor which contributes where the spot appears.

Ecchymosis can develop on eyes, neck, elbows, thighs, and stomach… you can detect it right away due to the noticeable discoloration on the area.

Types of Ecchymosis

There are many types of Ecchymosis so we chose the most famous types, these types may seem similar in appearance.

However, the reasons behind them are totally different from one to another. You need to read carefully if you want to discover the reason behind yours.

  • Periorbital ecchymosis

    Also referred to as raccoon eyes. This condition usually occurs when the blood vessels leak from the brain to the area under the eyes causing discoloration and sometimes pain. Sometimes brain fracture is the cause of such condition that is why you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

  • Traumatic ecchymosis

    This type of ecchymosis occurs due to sudden trauma directed towards a certain spot in the body. You might get traumatic ecchymosis from a fist fight or a strong sudden punch. It occurs often on the face and under eyes area as it is the most exposed area during a fight.

    You may also get it from tripping or bumping into something stiff such as a poll or a wooden object. This type results in swelling and pain since it happened suddenly so you might want to add a cold compress to relieve it.

  • Mastoid ecchymosis

    A condition caused by head trauma such as a bump or an accident. This type is similar to raccoon eye, it occurs in a short time that is why it is easy to notice. You might want to consult a doctor if you have any concerns or ask your doctor to check your brain for any serious matter.

The difference between Ecchymosis and other skin conditions

A lot of times people tend to google their symptoms on the internet. If you are inexperienced with skin infection conditions you have a high a chance to misdiagnose your condition. To make it easier for you, we provided you with the table below that distinguishes between similar conditions to Ecchymosis.

ecchymosis vs bruise

The distinction between the two is not visibly noticeable. the difference is that a bruise is caused by simple causes such as trauma such as a punch or a bump.

While ecchymosis happens due to serious health conditions such as kidney disease or liver disease [9].

ecchymosis vs purpura

Both conditions refer to the circulation of blood in the thin layer of skin due to several reasons.

The only difference is the size, ecchymosis size range from 1 centimeter and above, while purpura ranges from 3 millimeters but not above 1 centimeter [10].

ecchymosis vs hematoma

The same case with purpura, the difference between ecchymosis and hematoma is the size. the size of hematoma does not go above 3 millimeters unlike ecchymosis is 1 centimeter [11].

ecchymosis vs contusion

The difference between ecchymosis and contusion is the wound. Your ecchymosis is a bruise from internal bleeding so the skin is not broken. However, a contusion means that the skin or blood vessels are broken [12].

Ecchymosis Treatment

Treating Ecchymosis can differ from one person to another. Doctors take into consideration the reason behind it and treat you based on it. However, there are some treatments which can help you relieve some of the uncomfortable symptoms.

  • Ice packs

    Such treatment can help your area feel some relieve and help you regulate the blood circulation. This solution helps to prevent the spread of the ecchymosis by relieving the blood vessels and return to normal.

  • Painkillers

    When you consult a doctor, there is a high possibility he would prescribe the suitable painkillers for you. These medications help relieve your pain around the affected spot until you figure out a treatment for the actual cause.

    Do not take any painkiller you find in your medicine cabinet you must consult a doctor first.

  • Trauma

    If you want to heal ecchymosis fast, avoid any type of trauma. Do not participate in fights;  you need to be careful while working out. Avoid boxing as well while training.

    Let the area rest and do not overwork it until the pain goes away. After that, you are allowed to stretch it bit by bit in order to regulate your blood circulation.

  • Vitamin K cream

    The vitamin k is used by the body when there’s a bleeding which makes the blood clot and stops the bleeding, But it can be less effective for some people, especially for those taking blood thinners or other medications.

Ecchymosis Pictures

For inexperienced people distinguishing the type of Ecchymosis is not easy. there are a lot of people who get confused about the type of their Ecchymosis based on looks and size.

In order to make it easier for you to distinguish the type of your Ecchymosis, we classified it as follows. We arranged a list of pictures showing the different types of Ecchymosis that are in different shapes and sizes and areas.

Ecchymosis on the eye of children

Ecchymosis on the face






This skin condition is not harmless and you can heal it with a simple solution. Do not take it slightly.

The reasons behind it may cause risks to your health. You need to do a full medical check in order to make sure that you do not have a serious disease.

You need to revise your medical history with your doctor to figure out any possible signs you neglected.

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