Capillaritis is the name given to a harmless skin condition in which there are reddish-brown patches caused by leaky capillaries. It is also known as pigmented purpura.
The capillaries are small blood vessels near to the skin surface. For unknown reasons they sometimes become inflamed, although a true vasculitis is not seen on skin biopsy. Blood cells may pass through small gaps that arise between the cells, which make up the capillary walls. The result is tiny red dots appear on the skin, described as cayenne pepper spots. They group together to form a flat red patch, which becomes brown and then slowly fades away over weeks to months.
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