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Progressive pigmentary dermatosis (Schamberg disease)

What is it?

Brown patches affecting the legs resulting from extravasation of blood (hemorrhages) from small blood vessels. It mainly affects adults and elderly who remain long standing or sitting. The red blood cells which left the vessels into the skin, give rise to the resulting brown pigmentation. Overweight and varicose veins predispose to the development of the condition.

Characteristics and symptoms

The spots affect the legs and ankles, starting small and gradually converging to form larger patches. With time, a brown patch, boot-shaped is formed.

The disease may be the precursor stage of a leg ulcer, a difficult to heal wound, usually initiated by a small trauma.


As preventive measures, it is recommended to avoid overweight and stay standing or sitting for a long time. For people whose occupations require them to stay in these positions, it is indicated the use of compression stockings and elevation of the members whenever possible. It is also recommended to acquire the habit of walking.

The brown patches are permanent, difficult to remove. Treatment with intense pulsed light may bring benefits to some cases and should be conducted by a trained physician.

Related articles

- Leg ulcer, stasis ulcer
- Erysipela

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