What Is Stasis Dermatitis (Varicose Eczema)?

Like other types of dermatitis, Stasis Dermatitis goes by many names all of which are good descriptors of what is happening in this particular kind of eczema. Stasis Dermatitis is a form of eczema that does not affect children.

Understanding Statis Dermatitis (Varicose Eczema)

“Stasis” means inactivity and this describes many facets of this condition. There is a relative lack of movement of the fluid in the lower legs and poor circulation, and this pooling of fluid leads to the rash commonly found on the lower legs and feet. More commonly this occurs in older individuals that have what is called venous insufficiency but this can happen in younger people with varicose veins.

Stasis dermatitis comes by many names such as 

  • Gravitational dermatitis
  • Venous eczema
  • Varicose eczema
  • Venous stasis
  • Venous stasis dermatitis

What Causes Varicose Eczema (Stasis Dermatitis)?

As we age the valves in our veins weaken and this allows fluid to flow backward. That is why another name for this condition is Venous Eczema. The word “venous” refers to veins. Specifically, this pooling of fluid then backs up into the skin first causing skin discoloration and swelling and the backed-up fluid leads to inflammation which leads to dryness, crusting, thickening of skin, and possibly eventually ulcerations.

People in professions with little movement, those who sit for much of the day or stand for much of the day may be more predisposed to get this. This is why another name for Stasis Dermatitis is Gravitational Dermatitis.

There may be other underlying conditions besides just age that can cause this, high blood pressure for example, so it is a good idea to get in touch with your physician if you start having a rash in your lower extremities and you are over the age of 40. Hopefully, we have provided a broad enough overview so you know now what is stasis dermatitis.

Symptoms Of Stasis Dermatitis (Varicose Eczema)

You must have learned by now that stasis dermatitis causes swelling, inflammation, and dryness on your legs. But some other common symptoms seen in people experiencing stasis dermatitis are:

  • Dry skin
  • Scaly rash
  • Discolored skin
  • Aching legs
  • Burning sensation
  • Swelling on the ankles
  • Thickening of skin

How Is Varicose Eczema (Stasis Dermatitis) Diagnosed?

The doctor will physically examine your symptoms and inquire about your health history. Usually, stasis dermatitis is diagnosed just by looking at the symptoms but sometimes to figure out that your symptoms are not caused by any other skin condition they may prescribe some patch test. 

To inquire more about the blood flow in your legs they may prescribe an ankle brachial index test, doppler ultrasound, and artery studies. 

Who Might Get Stasis Dermatitis?

Anyone can experience status dermatitis as they age. However, some people who are more likely to experience it are:

  • People who have chronic venous insufficiency
  • Radiation therapy
  • Lymphedema
  • kidney failure 
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease

How Is Stasis Dermatitis Treated?

The American Academy of Dermatology provides a concise list of what one should do to manage this chronic condition, and we will summarize it here. 

  • The problem starts with swelling so wearing a special sock called a compression dressing will reduce swelling by squeezing the pooled fluids back into circulation. 
  • Elevating the legs is beneficial throughout the day, remember gravity is one of the culprits in this disease process. 
  • Hydrate your body. Make sure you drink enough fluids every day to keep your body hydrated. This can help improve the blood flow and ease swelling.
  • If your doctor allows you, workout a little every day or walk briskly for at least 10 minutes daily.
  • To help the skin crusting and swelling a physician can prescribe topical medications like steroids for example. Sometimes these areas can get infected and antibiotics are needed. Also, there can be a lot of itch so using an antihistamine may be crucial for enhanced comfort.


Just like in any eczematous condition, using an irritant-free moisturizing eczema cream twice a day is crucial. The AAD says, “Because stasis dermatitis makes the skin so sensitive, you’ll want to use a moisturizer that is free of fragrance, dyes, and perfumes. Good options include petroleum jelly and thick cream that says “fragrance-free” on the label

How can Happy Cappy help Stasis Dermatitis?

How can Happy Cappy help Stasis Dermatitis?

Happy Cappy Moisturizing Cream For Eczema fits the American Academy of Dermatology requirements mentioned above. Furthermore, it is an eczema cream that is dermatologist and clinically tested, free of a preservative called parabens that can cause allergic contact dermatitis.

It is a hydrating cream that contains moisture-infusing ingredient glycerin and redness-soothing ingredient licorice root extract in a base of pharmaceutical-grade petroleum jelly. 

These ingredients combined together have been shown in a large study called Cochrane Review to help soothe eczema in a superior manner. Happy Cappy Moisturizing Cream is fast-absorbing and not greasy.

Keeping Stasis Dermatitis well managed can improve your quality of life and Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy products are here to help.


  1. “STASIS DERMATITIS: DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT.” American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/types/stasis-dermatitis/treatment . Accessed 27 August 2020.


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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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Is stasis dermatitis dangerous?

A mild stasis dermatitis can become severe if proper care and treatment are not given on time. It may cause open sores on the legs and feet. These sores may ooze, bleed, and leave scars. Stasis dermatitis can also cause hardening and darkening of the skin.

What is the difference between cellulitis and stasis dermatitis?

The symptoms of both conditions may look similar, but bacteria cause cellulitis, and stasis dermatitis is caused by increased pressure in the veins.

How is stasis dermatitis diagnosed?

The doctor may diagnose stasis dermatitis by physically examining the affected area. Sometimes, the doctor may also prescribe Doppler ultrasonography to determine what skin condition this is.

Who is most likely to develop stasis dermatitis?

Stasis dermatitis is caused due to poor blood flow in the legs. People around 50 and above are at more risk of developing it

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