Actinic purpura, also known as solar purpura, is a common skin condition that affects older adults. It is caused by chronic exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, which leads to thinning of the skin and weakening of the blood vessels in the affected area.
Actinic purpura typically appears as small, flat purple or red spots on the arms, hands, and face. The lesions may be accompanied by itching or burning, but they are usually painless. Over time, the spots may merge together to form larger patches of discoloration.
Actinic purpura is more common in older adults, particularly those over the age of 65. Risk factors for developing the condition include:
- Chronic sun exposure: People who spend a lot of time outdoors, particularly in sunny climates, are more likely to develop actinic purpura.
- Aging: As the skin ages, it becomes thinner and more susceptible to damage from UV radiation.
- Genetics: Some people may be more predisposed to developing actinic purpura due to genetic factors.
There is no cure for actinic purpura, but the condition is generally harmless and does not require treatment. However, topical treatments such as corticosteroids or retinoids may be prescribed to improve the appearance of the lesions.
Prevention of actinic purpura involves protecting the skin from excessive sun exposure. This can be achieved by wearing protective clothing, including hats and long-sleeved shirts, using sunscreen with a high SPF, and avoiding excessive exposure to the sun during peak UV radiation hours (10am-4pm).