SynopsisCodesLook ForDiagnostic PearlsDifferential Diagnosis & PitfallsBest TestsManagement PearlsTherapyDrug Reaction DataReferences

Information for Patients

View all Images (109)

Capillaritis in Adult
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Capillaritis in Adult

Contributors: Connie R. Shi MD, Belinda Tan MD, PhD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Capillaritis, also known as the pigmented purpuric dermatoses (PPD) or benign pigmented purpura, refers to a collection of benign cutaneous conditions characterized by the appearance of cayenne pepper-like petechiae, purpura, and golden-brown pigmentation on the legs and less commonly on the trunk and upper extremities.

Several distinct clinical entities have been described:
  • Schamberg disease: the most common manifestation of PPD
  • Purpura annularis telangiectodes (Majocchi disease)
  • Eczematid-like purpura of Doucas and Kapetanakis
  • Pigmented purpuric lichenoid dermatosis of Gougerot and Blum
  • Lichen aureus
  • Linear pigmented purpura
  • Granulomatous pigmented purpura
Development or worsening of pre-existing capillaritis has been associated with venous hypertension, increased capillary fragility, gravity, exercise, and focal infections.

Capillaritis is typically asymptomatic but may be pruritic. It is usually a chronic condition with intermittent exacerbations and remissions. There is no geographic or hereditary population predilection. Men appear to be affected more commonly than women.


I78.8 – Other diseases of capillaries

85461008 – Capillaritis

Look For

Subscription Required

Diagnostic Pearls

Subscription Required

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Best Tests

Subscription Required

Management Pearls

Subscription Required


Subscription Required

Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

Subscription Required


Subscription Required

Last Reviewed:12/01/2016
Last Updated:01/05/2020
Copyright © 2023 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Patient Information for Capillaritis in Adult
Contributors: Medical staff writer


Capillaritis is a condition where inflammation of the tiniest blood vessels in the skin results in leakage of blood and petechiae (tiny spots of bleeding under the skin that do not blanche when you press on them). Capillaritis is frequently found in individuals who stand for long periods of time, such as people who are on their feet a lot for work. Capillaritis can come and go intermittently.

Who’s At Risk

Capillaritis is seen more commonly in adults, especially men, but it can occur in older children and teenagers as well.

Signs & Symptoms

The most common location for capillaritis is the legs, but it can also occur on the trunk and arms. Capillaritis never occurs on the face. Capillaritis may appear as:
  • Brown-red or dark brown petechiae in darker skin colors or light red or dark red petechiae in lighter skin colors.
  • Color variations in the lesions may be seen at different stages of development.
  • Petechiae can merge to form petechial patches.

Self-Care Guidelines

No self-care is necessary.

When to Seek Medical Care

Although capillaritis itself is a harmless condition, other conditions can also cause petechiae. Seek medical evaluation for a rash with petechiae or another unknown rash.


If capillaritis is diagnosed, your medical professional may prescribe a topical steroid cream or lotion.
Copyright © 2023 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Capillaritis in Adult
A medical illustration showing key findings of Capillaritis : Cayenne pepper like purpura, Lower leg
Clinical image of Capillaritis - imageId=221951. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Multiple tiny, cayenne pepper-type petechiae and golden-brown macules on the thigh.'
Multiple tiny, cayenne pepper-type petechiae and golden-brown macules on the thigh.
Copyright © 2023 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.