Diagnosing varicose eczema 

See your GP if you have symptoms of varicose eczema. They can usually make a diagnosis by simply looking at the affected areas.

Your GP will ask you some questions to find out whether you have increased blood pressure in your veins. High blood pressure causes varicose eczema, so it will support your diagnosis and help to rule out other possible causes of a leg rash, such as contact dermatitis.

Signs of increased venous blood pressure include having a history of:

If your GP is in doubt or if you need to have further tests, you may be referred to a vascular specialist.


Your GP may refer you to a vascular specialist (a doctor who specialises in veins) or a dermatologist (a specialist in treating skin conditions) if:

  • you have varicose veins and changes to your skin, such as varicose eczema, lipodermatosclerosis or a history of leg ulcers (chronic non-healing wounds)
  • you have very poor blood flow in the arteries (blood vessels) in your legs 
  • your eczema does not get better, despite treatment 
  • it is possible that you may have contact dermatitis, a type of eczema that occurs when the body comes into contact with a particular substance

It is important to note that the referral criteria may vary slightly depending on the policy of your local primary care trust (PCT).

Page last reviewed: 15/10/2012

Next review due: 15/10/2014