Bleeding into the skin happens when small blood vessels burst just below your skin’s surface. These broken blood vessels may look like small red dots. Or they may be larger purple, blue or black patches. Usually, bleeding into the skin is minor and heals in about two weeks.
Bleeding into the skin is when one of your blood vessels bursts and leaks into the surrounding tissue. Your blood vessels are the tubes that carry blood throughout your body. Although bleeding into the skin may sound serious, it usually doesn’t cause severe symptoms. It often leads to a bruise that heals within several days or weeks.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Bruises are the most common type of bleeding into the skin. They usually appear as red, blue, black or purple spots and may develop after an injury. Bruises can appear a few different ways:
Anyone can get bruises or minor bleeding into the skin. Some people may be more likely to develop bruises, including people who:
Some people have conditions that make them bruise or bleed more easily, such as:
Bleeding into the skin may look like a reddish patch of skin. But if you have bleeding into the skin, the area won’t become lighter (blanch) when you apply pressure. In contrast, erythema, a type of skin rash causing redness, becomes paler when you press on the affected area.
Injuries are the most common cause of bleeding into the skin. You may bump into an object, fall or get hit during a sport.
Other causes of bleeding into the skin include:
Sometimes, the only symptom of bleeding into the skin is discoloration. You may have a patch of skin that looks red, black, blue or purple.
Sometimes, bruises may also be:
Usually, healthcare providers diagnose bleeding into the skin by physically examining the area. They may ask you:
If your healthcare provider thinks you may have an underlying condition that causes bruising, they may order images or tests such as:
Often, you can treat bleeding into the skin at home. For minor bruises, you can:
If bleeding into the skin doesn’t go away, your healthcare provider may try other treatments. They may prescribe medications or recommend that you stop taking certain medications. You may also need treatment to manage a condition that causes bleeding into the skin.
Usually, bleeding into the skin occurs after an impact injury. Ice and elevate the area immediately after an injury to lower the chances that a bruise will develop. If you play contact sports, always wear protective gear.
If you have a condition that leads to easy bruising, seek care from your healthcare provider. Ongoing treatment of chronic conditions can lower your risk of complications such as bleeding into the skin.
Bleeding into the skin is usually minor and heals on its own within about two weeks. Occasionally, certain medications (like blood thinners) or chronic conditions can make you more likely to develop bleeding into the skin. Treating underlying conditions can lower your risk of bruising. Your healthcare provider may also recommend stopping the medications that cause bleeding. (But don’t stop taking any medications without consulting your healthcare provider.)
Bleeding into the skin is usually minor. If symptoms keep developing in the same area or don’t go away within two weeks, it could indicate a more serious condition.
If you’ve had bleeding into the skin for longer than two weeks, see your healthcare provider. You should see your provider sooner if you have bruises along with:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Bleeding into the skin happens when small blood vessels burst just below your skin’s surface. These blood vessels leak into surrounding tissues. Your skin may appear red, purple, blue or black. Bleeding into the skin may cause only discoloration, or the spot may be swollen and tender to the touch. Usually, bleeding into the skin is minor and heals in about two weeks.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/25/2022.
Learn more about our editorial process.