What Are Bier Spots?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Images By: Mario Beauregard, Cliparea.com, Staras, n/a
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2016
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Bier spots are small flecks of pale skin, usually in the arms and legs, associated with vascular changes. They are usually benign but can be of cosmetic concern. If a patient reports to a doctor with bier spots, the doctor may investigate to confirm that they are not a sign of an underlying medical problem. In generally healthy patients, the doctor may recommend medications to address the issue if it causes distress, but may otherwise advise ignoring the spots unless they change or the patient develops new symptoms.

In patients with these spots, the skin can develop a mottled appearance, with patches of lighter and darker skin caused by poor circulation in the capillary blood vessels near the surface of the skin. Applying momentary pressure to the skin or raising the limb above the head can cause the spots to disappear. They may be more extreme in cold, reflecting decreased surface circulation in cold conditions.

Patients with these spots may not experience any other health problems. If the flecks are noticeable and irritating or they attract attention, some medications can be explored to treat them. It may take several tries to find a drug the patient responds to. The doctor also needs to consider the risk of side effects, especially since the spots do not pose a threat.


Other patients may have this condition with other medical issues that suggest there may be a deeper problem. Patients with liver damage, for instance, sometimes develop these spots, and they can also be seen in patients with vascular disorders. If the patient also experiences fatigue, nausea, and other symptoms, the doctor may recommend screening to learn more. An underlying medical issue may require treatment, and the spots could resolve if the doctor successfully treats the cause.

Skin changes, even if they appear minor, can be a cause for concern. A patient who notices bier spots or other changes to the skin may want to consider a visit to a dermatologist for evaluation. The doctor can examine the patient and may recommend some testing and other diagnostic options to determine the cause of the skin changes. In the event they are a sign of a problem, early intervention can increase the chances of a positive outcome, and may in some cases save the patient’s life by providing a chance to treat a condition before it has an opportunity to spread.


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Post 6

Bier spots may be caused by stasis, which is when there is improper (slow) blood flow in the veins. The spots are not a problem in and of themselves. But when caused by statis, they may be a sign that the veins are having issues sending the blood back up from the limbs (legs and arms) to the heart. Statis may also increase the risk of blood clots.

So it's a good idea to get a checkup if these spots appear. Doctors should make sure that circulation is okay and that the heart is pumping blood well.

Post 5

@fBoyle-- No, I think they're usually seen in young adults. It's basically caused by small vessels constricting.That's why it becomes apparent or worsens in cold weather because cold causes vessels to constrict more.

Most of the time though, it's not a problem and does not cause complications. People who seek treatment usually do so because they don't like the appearance of their skin.

Post 4

Which age group does this skin condition usually effect? Is it more commonly seen in the elderly?

Post 3

I've spent a good bit of time in the sun in my life, so I am always concerned when I see something out of the usual, like a white spot on my skin, or a mole. However, so far I haven't had any spots that were cancerous. It pays to be aware, but most spots have to do more with aging than any serious disease, and my doctor tells me that even with skin cancer catching it early makes all the difference in the world.

Post 2

As you get older there is always something new popping up on your skin. Skin tags are a problem for many people, and of course there are brown spots and other small spots on your arms and legs. Anyway, I agree with @Laotionne that you can cover them pretty easily with creams and makeup.

However, you should remember that, like the article says, bier spots and other spots and marks can be a sign that there is a problem that could lead to serious health conditions. Before you start covering blemishes, you should have an idea what caused them just be on the safe side.

Post 1

You can use makeup and self-tanning creams to hide discolored spots on your skin. Applying the cream is very easy and the creams cost much less than cosmetic surgery or some type of laser treatment will cost you. Not all of the creams are the same, so it is important to find one that actually covers the spots so that they are not noticeable.

I guess it goes without saying that there are different shades and colors of skin, so you'll have to find the cream that works best with your skin type. Once you find the right cream you will see that it covers spots on your legs and all over your body.

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