"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Medicines and your skin

Some medications or treatments can affect the skin, causing negative effects akin to excessive dryness or blue spots.

Blood thinners

Spontaneous scratches that occur without hitting anything turn into more common as you age. Doctors call this senile or actinic purpura, and it often occurs in individuals who take medications to forestall blood clotting, akin to warfarin (Coumadin) and even baby aspirin. “As you age, the thick middle layer of the skin starts to thin and doesn't support the blood vessels on the inside the way it used to,” says Dr. Olbrecht. This could make blood vessels more more likely to break. Even the smallest injury may cause bleeding under the skin, causing the discoloration and deep purple sores that characterize the condition.

Actinic purpura is a cosmetic problem related to aging skin. If you are taking a “blood thinner,” your doctor probably won't want you to stop it. Taking some of these medications increases the danger of internal bleeding, but having this skin condition doesn't mean you're particularly liable to heavy bleeding.

Medicines that cause dry skin.


There are several antibiotics that may cause skin changes. Two of essentially the most common – minocycline (Minocin) and doxycycline (Vibramycin) – are types of tetracycline.

Dermatologists often prescribe minocycline to treat conditions akin to pimples and rosacea (a skin condition characterised by redness, blood vessels, and sometimes acne-like patches). But whether it is used for a very long time, it may possibly cause small areas of bluish color on the skin. These spots normally occur in areas where the skin is injured or inflamed, akin to pimples scars or burn scars. These spots sometimes go away months after stopping the drug, but in rare cases they're everlasting.

Doctors commonly prescribe doxycycline to treat pimples, urinary tract and respiratory infections, and Lyme disease, amongst other conditions. People who take it might find that their skin is more sensitive to the sun, increasing the danger of sunburn. Some people also experience nail pimples, says Dr. Olbrecht.

Heart and blood pressure medications

High doses of amiodarone (Peciron, Nextrone), which is used primarily to treat irregular heartbeats, can turn skin exposed to sunlight a bluish-gray color. Dr. Olbrecht says that skin changes related to this drug normally only occur should you've been taking the drug for a very long time, but when it does, it may possibly be very difficult to reverse.

Thiazides, akin to hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), are commonly prescribed to treat hypertension. Although this medicine doesn't necessarily make you more more likely to get sunburned, it does affect the skin. Dr. Olbrecht says studies have shown that it may possibly increase the possibilities of developing a sort of skin cancer called squamous cell cancer.

Statins are the usual treatment for lowering cholesterol and other lipids (fats) within the blood. While it might be helpful to your heart, these medications also affect the lipids in your skin, which might make your skin feel drier than usual. Drugs on this category include atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), and rosuvastatin (Crestor).

Vasodilators, a standard class of blood pressure medications that open up blood vessels, have been linked to a rise in pimples and rosacea, although there is no such thing as a scientific consensus. Drugs on this category are benazepril (Lotensin), hydralazine (Apresoline), and minoxidil (Lotensin). Although this link has not been proven, it will be important to concentrate on, says Dr. Olbrecht.

Avoid the sun while taking these medicines

In addition to the antibiotic doxycycline (Vibramycin), many other medications are known to extend sun sensitivity. These include some drugs in the next categories:

  • Antihistamines (sometimes used to treat allergy symptoms), akin to cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  • Phenothiazines (antipsychotic drugs) including chlorpromazine (thorazine)
  • Sulfa drugs (a category of antibiotics), akin to sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (Bactram)
  • tricyclic antidepressants, akin to amitriptyline (Elavil).

Unsafe Supplements

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a resurgence of interest in colloidal silver oral supplements in some quarters, which Dr. Olbrecht describes as “snake oil medicine” — that's, medicine that may be used without negative effects. Any evidence is promoted to support certain health treatments. Conditions In fact, colloidal silver shouldn't be advisable as a treatment for any health condition, and it may possibly be dangerous, in keeping with the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Colloidal silver is different from the silver that medical professionals use to treat skin wounds, says Dr. Olbrecht. It is a liquid through which tiny particles of silver float. If taken over time, silver actually accumulates in your body's tissues, causing a condition called erysipelas, which turns the skin blue. Dr. Olbrecht says that after this alteration occurs, it becomes everlasting. In some cases, the skin may only have a bluish tint. “But some people can be very, very blue, and there's no way to get the color out of their skin,” she says.

Photo: © Selectstock/Getty Images