Mottled skin

KLAFS ABC of well-being

How is mottled skin expressed?

When the ambient temperature changes, the appearance of the skin may change. As long as there are no unusual aspects, for example enlarged birthmarks, they are generally harmless. One of these phenomena is mottled skin.

On a healthy person, mottled skin usually is an indicator for poor circulation and should disappear after a brief submersion in warm water. Once the blood vessels expand again, enough blood will flow through the veins, and the skin will return to its even colour. The mottled, marble-like texture of the skin can also be a sign of impending death. Because perception is lost completely and there is no more orientation, the circulation of the skin is also reduced. Due to lacking circulation, the skin on the arms, hands and feet becomes spotty and in some parts cold. Since only the vital organs receive circulation while the body is dying, the skin becomes pale. The blood vessels become visible. This creates the appearance of mottled skin.

Mottled skin and possible diseases

Severe mottling of the skin can indicate poor circulation as well as other causes. One possible disease is Livedo reticularis. This affects not just the extremities, but also the trunk. The constriction of the vessels is reduced when one moves from cold air or cold water into warm spaces. Mottling of the skin can also indicate rheumatic diseases such as arthritis or rheumatic fever. In both cases, it is necessary to visit the doctor for a detailed examination. Any changes in skin appearance can also indicate occlusive diseases or insufficient blood pressure.

Information about mottled skin at a glance

  • Mottled skin is generally harmless
  • A frequent cause of mottled skin is lacking circulation
  • Mottled skin should disappear after a brief stay in warm air or water

Further information

Vascular training in the sauna
Sauna effect on the cardiovascular system