Bleeding under the skin can occur in a variety of ways, forming either tiny red dots called petechiae or larger flat areas that turn purple, called purpura. When bleeding under the skin is excessive, the large area of bruised skin is called an ecchymosis. When bleeding forms petechiae, it can be mistaken for a rash. Aspirin is a blood thinner and, along with other similar medications, can cause capillaries under the skin to burst, resulting in bleeding. Any persistent bleeding that occurs beneath your skin should be investigated by your doctor.
Medicines that thin the blood called anticoagulants are used regularly to help reduce the incidence of heart attacks and strokes. In some instances, blood cells clump together in the arteries, forming clots, which often end up developing into triggers for a stroke. Many people take blood thinners such as warfarin, heoparin or aspirin as preventatives against cardiovascular disease. Anyone taking blood-thinning medications, aspirin and even certain blood-thinning herbs such as turmeric or ginger, is at risk for internal bleeding and bleeding under the skin.
The elderly are especially at risk for bleeding because skin becomes thinner, less flexible and more sensitive as people age. As the fat content under the skin decreases with age, the skin's elasticity and ability to protect and cushion underlying tissue is reduced. These changes in skin quality along with exposure to the sun can cause small blood vessels in the skin to break and bleed into the skin. Additionally, bumping or pulling on the skin can cause bruising and unexpected bleeding. If you take aspirin, it increases the likelihood of subcutaneous or under-the-skin bleeding.
Other Causes of Subcutaneous Bleeding
Other causes of bleeding under the skin are allergies, autoimmune diseases, leukemia, vasculitis or inflammation of the blood vessels, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, thrombocytopenia, malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies and septicemia. Individuals who are prone to any of these conditions should not take aspirin without first consulting their doctor.
Aspirin is a widely used drug with many applications. It is primarily a pain killer and available over the counter. Aspirin is also used in combination with many other drugs to enhance their pain-killing qualities. Some doctors prescribe low-dose baby aspirin to individuals who may be at risk for cardiovascular disease. In most cases, aspirin causes no side effects, according to Drugs.com; however, it can cause severe allergic reactions including swelling of the lips, tongue and throat, rash and anaphylactic reactions as well as bleeding. Always consult your doctor before using aspirin for any chronic condition. Stop using it immediately if you experience any bleeding.