Why did my face turn purple?
June 30, 2010 3:06 PM   Subscribe

What happened to my face?

A few years ago, I had something traumatic happen to me. Subsequently, I went into crisis mode for about 4--6 weeks. It was definitely the most stressful time of my adult life. 2 or 3 weeks into the ordeal, my face turned purple. It was so strange. I was at work and noticed my face felt hot. Went in the bathroom and saw that my face was purple. I'm guessing that something happened to the blood vessels under my skin due to the amount of stress I was under. The purple subsided over the next few days and eventually went away except for my left temple which continues to be reddish since that time. Can somebody tell me what happened? I'm curious about what occurred with my skin/blood vessels.
posted by rglass to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Could it be rosacea?
posted by muddgirl at 3:23 PM on June 30, 2010


I used to get this on my face when I would freak out as a child (which was a lot).
posted by overeducated_alligator at 5:33 PM on June 30, 2010

There was an episode of "Mystery Diagnosis" on the Discovery channel where a man's face turned purple. The episode was called "The Purple Puzzle", but I can't find a video link right now.
posted by Ochre,Hugh at 6:31 PM on June 30, 2010

I've turned purple twice in my life. Yes, twice.

The first time, it started in my hands. Turned out to be scarlet fever. Which was pretty odd, since I was a teenager. In fact, they couldn't diagnose it at first -- imagine how thrilled I was to have the doctor "be right back", and return with another doctor who "hmm'd" for a bit, then they both left and brought in a roomful of doctors. They all "hmm'd" until a pediatrician said "wait, I think I know what this is!" ran out and returned with a book. Heh.

The second time I was still a teenager, and I was on an antibiotic. While at work, over the course of a few hours, I gradually turned purple-splotchy. People started to notice, and the doctor said "get over here in case you're having an allergic reaction." Ultimately they decided it was an allergic reaction or I had mononucleosis and it + antibiotics was causing it. He might have been joking. Anyway, it eventually passed after they gave me a shot (I presume something for the allergic reaction, it was a long time ago.)

So it could be a lot of things. Perhaps a doctor can help. Assuming they have the right book.
posted by davejay at 12:06 AM on July 1, 2010

Hm. I used to know a guy in elementary school who could turn his entire head and neck red by holding his breath and using his neck muscles to force blood into his head. I learned how to do it myself.

Could it be that the stress you were under led you to subconsciously start doing something like that, and you actually broke some blood vessels from it? It's sort of similar to the way really involved computer users (for example, those arguing online) often forget to breathe right—you could've been so tightly focused on what was happening and the stress you were under that you were subconsciously doing some weird things to your respiratory/vascular system.

I've been under stress all week and have gotten headaches from it and keep worrying that that's what I'm doing to myself, and that I'm going to pop a vein or something.
posted by limeonaire at 5:48 AM on July 1, 2010

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