9 Proven Treatments for Stasis Dermatitis

Poor vein circulation in your lower legs can lead to swelling and itchiness—called stasis dermatitis. Learn what you can do to relieve your symptoms.

Stasis-Dermatitiscourtesy American Academy of Dermatology
Don’t stand or sit around too long

“Stasis dermatitis is caused by poor vein circulation in the lower legs,” says Melanie Palm, MD, MBA, a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon at Art of Skin MD, in San Diego. “Excessive standing or sitting could worsen the condition.” Here’s how to help your body recover from a day of sitting.

Get moving

Exercise has benefits for stasis dermatitis patients, too. “I counsel my patients that wherever they are, they should be pumping their legs and doing calf raises,” says Mohiba Tareen, MD, a dermatologist at Tareen Dermatology. “This helps the veins pump the blood back to the heart. You will often see me standing in line at the grocery store or speaking on the phone and doing my ‘covert’ leg exercises to prevent leaky veins!”

Try compression hose

“Consistent use of compression hose is essential,” Dr. Palm says. “Thigh high varieties are far better than knee-high. Long-term control of stasis dermatitis often involves wearing graduated compression stockings to help assist the return of fluid from the lower leg back to the circulation.” Get the scoop about varicose veins.

Put your feet up

“Get used to sleeping with your legs elevated on several pillows,” Dr. Tareen says. “We sleep for six to eight hours a day and keeping the blood flowing while asleep is a great bonus!”

Try some supplements

Stasis-Dermatitiscourtesy American Academy of Dermatology
“Patients may consider supplementing their diet with rutin and vitamin C, both of which help with overall vein health,” Dr. Palm says. Find out the best vitamins for healthy, glowing skin.

Lose weight

Excess weight—especially obesity—can lead to the leaky veins that cause venous stasis dermatitis. Try any one of these fast, easy tips for losing weight.

Slather on the moisturizer

“My main message to individuals with stasis dermatitis is to moisturize and keep the skin healthy with simple topicals with few allergens such as Vaseline, Vanicream, or Cerave products,” Dr. Tareen advises. “If the itch is still not going away, judicious use of topical steroids under the direction of your doctor may help.” Try these all-natural moisturizers you’ll find at home.

Watch out for foods that cause you to retain fluids

Foods that are high in sodium can cause you to retain water—we’re talking fast food and processed foods like lunch meat, crackers, chips, canned vegetables, and soups. See how water weight can cause weight gain.

Try laser therapy

To heal your stasis dermatitis treatment permanently, medical intervention may be necessary. “The real cause is the deep veins that have become incompetent over time,” Dr. Tareen says. “The skin is really an ‘innocent bystander’ that becomes inflamed and ulcerated from the chronic pressure of the leaky veins. Thus all therapy must be directed at the root cause—fixing the veins. There are great advances in laser therapy for incompetent deep veins.”

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