Cyanosis Blue Skin

Skin | - Others | Cyanosis Blue Skin (Symptom)


The skin color is given by the blood flow in the tiny vessels in the skin called capillaries, and also the amount of pigment present in the dermal layers. While normal condition can change the skin pigmentation, a blue skin tone results only in abnormal causes and it is called cyanosis.


Cyanosis is associated with cold temperatures, heart failure, lung diseases, and smothering. It is seen in infants at birth as a result of heart defects, respiratory distress syndrome, or lung and breathing problems. The bluish color is more readily apparent in those with high hemoglobin counts than it is with those with anemia. Also the bluer color is more difficult to detect on deeply pigmented skin.

Chemicals such as medications and dyes, congenital defects and dangerous heart conditions and lung problems result in bluish discolorations of the nailbeds, skin and mucosal membranes.

Minocycline is a semi-synthetic derivative of the tetracycline class antibiotics. A common side effect of this antibiotic is a bluish discoloration of the gums, nail beds, lower legs and mucosal membranes, such as the inside of the nose and mouth.

Generally more noticeable when the patient is fair skinned, cyanosis is a condition where the skin and mucous membranes turn blue due to hypoxia. Depending on the cause, cyanosis may develop suddenly, along with shortness of breath and other symptoms. Cyanosis that is caused by long-term heart or lung problems may develop slowly. Symptoms may be present, but are often not severe.

Chemicals that cause hypoxia and cyanosis include nitrates, nitrites, aniline dyes, ergotamine, phenazopyridine and dapsone. Mongolian spots appear as large blue-gray spots on the buttocks and lower backs of infants. These are caused by melanocytes, the cells responsible for skin pigmentation.