Scratching too much is another way I get EDS bruises

Dry skin can cause itching, after which it's a short trip to bruising

Karen Del Vecchio avatar

by Karen Del Vecchio |

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It’s the season for dry skin. Between the cold weather and frequent hand-washing, I can’t seem to stay ahead of it. I have a variety of heavy-duty lotions, but sometimes my skin still gets too dry. The worst part about that is the itching.

I know, you’re not supposed to scratch dry skin. But we all do it sometimes, don’t we? It’s not a big problem usually, but once in a while, I’ll scratch hard enough to give myself stippled bruises. The lines where I scratch will turn red and have lots of tiny, pinprick bruises along them.

My usual bruising from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is typically pretty garish and hard to miss. It’s characterized by big purple-green blotches with a nice tinge of yellow around the edge after a few days. While often the point of impact that caused the bruise will be tender, the areas around it typically won’t hurt. I mean it when I tell people the bruises aren’t as bad as they look.

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Situation normal

I always have some pretty colorful patches at any given time. Right now, I have a few bruises and don’t know what caused them, which isn’t unusual because I’m an active person. Between the bruises I get from scratching myself and the regular bruising from EDS, I have some extra colorful limbs.

When I get bruises from scratching, they don’t last as long as regular EDS bruises. Unlike big bruises that can take a while to heal, these are usually gone in a couple days. They also don’t hurt like an average bruise. Still, every time I manage to do that, I end up kicking myself because I should know better. What person with EDS needs more bruises? I know I don’t!

Because I have mild to moderate EDS, bruising is often the only visible manifestation of it. It used to really bother me, especially as a teenager, but I learned a long time ago that it’s simply not worth getting upset over. Sure, there are times when I wish I didn’t have to explain my bruises to well-meaning doctors or even strangers. This is particularly true when I decide to wear a skirt or shorts in the summer.

And while I’m occasionally asked questions by people who are simply being rude or nosy, the overwhelming majority of folks do so from a place of genuine concern. In today’s crazy world, I’ll never say no to a little more caring.

Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.


Constance Frye Alsup avatar

Constance Frye Alsup

I Itch constantly and have to put lotion all over at night to Sleep! I only get 3-9 hours home help which is not enough! I am mostly bed ridden but I am all over the place trying to walk with my cane or walker potting or making it to kitchen. Can't find Homes for 6 cats. No one around Treats EDS. Now I don't drive, live alone in my big house. Life sucks! 29 yr old daughter passed in 2020 and appt to see if I have MS like her in April. I am in pain!


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