DermNet NZ

Facts about the skin from DermNet New Zealand Trust. Topic index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Cutis marmorata

What is cutis marmorata?

Cutis marmorata is a condition where the skin has a pinkish blue mottled or marbled appearance when subjected to cold temperatures. It occurs in about 50% of children and is typically seen throughout infancy. Adults may also be affected. Rewarming usually restores the skin to its normal appearance.

Cutis marmorata Cutis marmorata Cutis marmorata
Cutis marmorata

Cutis marmorata is distinct from cutis marmorata telangiectatica congenita (CMTC).

How do you get it and who is at risk?

The mottled appearance of cutis marmorata is caused by superficial small blood vessels in the skin dilating and contracting at the same time. Dilation creates the red colour of the skin whilst contraction produces a pale appearance. This phenomenon is most pronounced when the skin is cooled. Reasons why this happens is not fully understood.

What treatments are available?

There is no treatment for cutis marmorata. It is generally a benign condition that improves with age.

Related information


Book: Textbook of Dermatology. Ed Rook A, Wilkinson DS, Ebling FJB, Champion RH, Burton JL. Fourth edition. Blackwell Scientific Publications.

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Author: Vanessa Ngan, staff writer

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If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice.