Blanching Skin

Blanching skin is caused by serious and sometimes temporary medical conditions. The name comes from the French term of blanc meaning white. Triggering this condition is extreme shock, severe blood loss and infections.

What is Blanching Skin

Blanc is a French term for white. Medically, when you press the skin, it becomes white or pale. The skin of a healthy individual returns to its normal color after you release the pressure. In this case, the skin color is slow to return to normal. Some individuals experience red spots as a symptom of blanching skin.

Blanching skin can be a life-threatening ailment. The primary element of this condition is the impediment of blood circulation prompting several skin conditions.

• Burns
• Frostbite
• Skin infections
• Inflammation
• Eczema

Our body functions depend on blood circulation. The process supplies oxygen to the brain and other organs. It nourishes the skin promoting healthy cell growth. When the blood circulation is deficient or interrupted from doing its job – clots can form. In some incidents, clots prevent excessive bleeding – with blanching skin the clots can trigger serious medical problems from narrowing arteries, fungal infections to allergic reactions.

What Causes Blanching Skin

Different health circumstances along with blanching skin initiate temporary or long-term effects until the blood circulation is back in operation. Health conditions known to trigger blanching skin include:

• Trauma
• Blood loss
• Third-degree burns
• Infections
• Loss of consciousness

Raynaud’s disease is caused by blanching skin, affecting the fingers and toes, making them numb and cold. The reaction is brought on by stress or exposure to low temperatures causing the small arteries that supply blood to the skin to narrow - restricting blood circulation.

• Women are more susceptible to this disease than men.
• It’s prevalent in populations living in cold climates

Like blanching skin, Raynaud’s disease depletes the skin of its needed blood supply turning the skin white. The condition may not be disabling. It does affect the quality of life for many patients.

Dehydration can lead to blanching skin, causing the body’s blood volume to drop. Remember 90% of our body weight is water. Insufficient water in the body causes the systems to shut down.

Shock is a medical emergency linked to blanching skin. The condition reduces the volume of blood in the body. Another form of shock is anaphylactic – a life-threating allergic response. Here, your blood pressure drops, the air passages close making breathing more difficult.

Tinea versicolor is a fungal infection of the skin. It’s also called Pityriasis versicolor. Yeast living on the skin is the instigator. When it grows out of control, a skin ailment in the form of a rash appears. Certain areas of the skin to change in color, producing individual spots or patches. Patches may be white, pink-red, and brown — some light others dark - developing on the neck, chest, back and arms.

Vitiligo is a disease activating the loss of skin color in blotches. The rate of color loss in unpredictable and can affect any part of the body. Some patients experience blotches inside of the mouth. Vitiligo occurs when the skin’s pigment function stops, affecting all skin types. The discoloring is more noticeable on darker skin. This condition is contagious.

Symptoms of Blanching Skin

The major symptom is where this condition gets its name. The skin turns white or pale when pressed and is slow to return to normal tones. The low blood supply reduces the skin’s temperature, making it cold to the touch.

Blanching skin is accompanied with other health conditions – each one indicating the immediate need for medical attention. The low volume of blood and the amount of blood loss remains a major concern.

• Weak pulse
• Clammy skin
• Uncontrolled blooding vomiting
• History of blanching skin
• Anemia

The medical industry has developed tools to measure the degrees of blanching skin due to the variables between patients. A comprehensive examination of the patient, their medical history is necessary for accurate diagnostics. In most situations, the underlying cause responsible for the condition is difficult to determine. The examination serves multiple purposes; one to isolate the root cause and two to identify other health issues associated with the blanching skin.

How to Treat Blanching Skin

Blanching skin happens for different reasons. The treatment will vary directed by the individual's current health and circumstance. Doctors will order lab tests with a blood draw to reveal the patient's health status. This information helps the doctor decide which approach or method of treatment is best for you.

• IV fluids
• Blood products
• Oxygen

Home Care

Blanching skin lowers the body temperature. Most patients find it necessary to wear layered clothing for warmth. It’s not unusual for someone to warm mittens during the warm seasons. If you are bedridden, it’s important to keep the skin clean and moisturized. Be sure you have help with changing your body’s position in bed.

• Use antibacterial soap for cleansing.
• Use precautions when with chemicals. They can injure the skin by irritating it, affecting the medical treatment.

Providing proper skin and wound care is critical for the individual. The caregiver needs to understand that damage to the skin is a result of three possibilities.

• Friction can irritate the skin, forming blisters and abrasions leading to skin infections.
• Relief of pressure can prevent skin wounds or ulcers to the buttocks, elbows, heels and the back of the head.
• Shear force when layers of the skin are forced to slide across another surface can cause severe skin injury. Examples include daily activities of sliding across a bed or being pulled up in a chair.

Environmental elements can instigate skin problems.

• Temperature controls – prevent excessive cold.
• Humidity – excessive moisture can offset the pH balances.
• Direct sunlight – even short exposure can cause serious burns and skin damage.

Epidermal stripping is caused by the frequent removal of tape used to hold medical tools in place. Excessive use may initiate trauma to the surface skin, making these areas vulnerable to infection or bacteria.

• Use of a skin sealant under the adhesives can help.
• Porous tapes are easily applied and removed.
• If possible avoid the tape.

Storage and Handling

Best health practices are good habits in the home when it comes to home care and medications. Medications are used to restore and sustain our health, left unmonitored even the simplest form can cause harm.

• Keep all medicines out of reach of children, elderly adults and animals.
• Store medications in a cool, dry place away from direct heat or light.
• Discard outdated or unused portions properly.

Frequently asked questions

1. Is blanching skin life-threatening?
It can be in some situations due to the associated disorders of blanching skin.

2. Do I need to see a doctor?
Yes, blanching skin is defined as an emergency health situation.

3. What other disorders are associated with this condition?
Health issues or body functions related to blood disorders and skin conditions.

4. Can it be cured or managed?
It depends on the cause and severity of the condition and your health status.

5. What parts of the body are affected most often?
The condition affects all parts of the skin. The accompanying diseases linked to blanching skin target specific areas like the fingers, toes, lips and nostrils.

6. I have low blood pressure now, does this affect my chances or recovery from blanching skin?
If you consistently have low blood pressure and bouts of blanching skin, your doctor will monitor the process of recovery using lab tests and physical examinations.

7. Is blanching skin or the conditions associated with it contagious?
Not all of the disorders linked to the skin’s color changes are contagious.