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Thinning skin on arms

on 10/2/12 6:44 am - McKinney, TX
I'm  4 1/2 years out from GB surgery.  Within the last 2 years, the skin on my arms have become paper thin.  I can slightly rub against it getting things out of the cabinet, etc, and within 5 seconds I have a blood blister.  Sometimes I look down to see blood running down my arms and no idea how it happened.  Is this something that has happened to any other WLS patient?

I have been to several doctors, been tested about vitamin levels and all come back normal.  I'm awaiting results from a hemotologist now.


V Lynn 

Jackie P.
on 4/22/10 1:53 pm - Chattanooga, TN

Do you take blood thinners?

Jackie Prigmore                      
on 4/22/10 6:15 pm - McKinney, TX
No I don't take any blood thinners, aspirin or anything.  My plastic surgeon saw my arms prior to one of my surgeries and he wouldn't do them until I had blood work because he thought I wqas a bleeder.  Everything checked out fine.


V Lynn 

Just Janie
on 4/22/10 2:17 pm - Vero Beach, FL
I have the same thin skin. I got it after losing 120 pounds about 6 years ago (no surgery that time) and even though I regained my weight, my skin stayed the same. I get bleeding under the skin, skin tears if I scrape my arm or hand at all, and bruises galore. A wound care nurse told me I have the skin of a 90 year old (as she was dressing a sking tear). I firmly believe it happened because I didn't concentrate on protein during the weight loss. At the time I also ended up with hanging wrinkler skin. I am now the exact same weight, but this time lost it with a more sensible diet (and the sleeve) and my skin is not nearly as wrinkled or saggy. I don't think there is any hope for improvement in my skin - I just try to be careful - but I always have spots where there has been bleeding under my skin. All my tests are normal too.

I wish I could give you an answer, but all I can do is commiserate.
     Goal reached in 4 1/2 months.   15 pounds below goal  SW 216.5/GW150/CW133

on 4/22/10 6:22 pm - McKinney, TX
Isn't it odd that many of the WLS patients are having this trouble? It has to be with some kind of vitamin we're not getting or something.  I'm shocked that I've heard from so many with the same problem.  We need to all keep in contact as we each go through testing - something has got to come up with all the tests and doctors all over the world.


V Lynn 

Amy Farrah Fowler
on 4/22/10 2:18 pm
Make sure the the labs they ran were VERY COMPREHENSIVE.

I know they need 11 (if they do several tests from shared vials) to 17 vials of blood to check everything that should be checked after WLS. Did they actually take and run all they need to?

I also know that many tests are missed even when they are marked to be tested, and some really important ones (like vitamin K, which a lack of could make you bleed) are almost always missed. Part of the problem is that some of the tests require the blood to be protected from light (like vitaming K), and it often isn't unless you know to tell the lab tech that, so those tests are just missed.
on 4/22/10 6:13 pm - McKinney, TX
The hemotologist took 19 vials of blood - I about croaked to see that many.  What's interesting, I didn't even bruise from the 2 places they took the blood, but the top of my arms look like I'm been in a wreck.

After my appt with the doctor one of my coworkers asked if I told him where I was raised, which I hadn't.  So I wrote him a long email about the mining town I was raised in with the high rate of cancer, miscarriages, SIDS, etc.  My next appointment is in a couple of weeks.  I'm anxious to see what they find.

Thanks for your input.  I didn't know about the vitamin K.


V Lynn 

on 4/22/10 4:51 pm - Sydney, Australia
Hi, I am 5 years out and it is just the same for me.  I have red blood blisters all over my arms and mostly dont know where they come from.  I have had the whole blood running down my arms, too. Its been happening for a couple of years, and was told that it was due to the amount of steroids I take for my asthma.  Im not sure if I agree, but just wanted you to know that I have the same thing.
on 4/22/10 6:19 pm - McKinney, TX
I don't take steroids.  I hate that you have the same thing but I feel like I have company now - I was beginning to feel like a freak.  I'm hoping that all the blood tests the hemotologist ran will find something.

I got to visit your beautiful city in 1985.  I will always remember how beautiful Sydney is and how sweet the people are there.  I've just recently, through Facebook, got in touch with the host family I stayed with there.

Good luck on your WLS journey.



V Lynn 

on 4/23/10 12:55 pm



Sweet Bama                                                                             ObesityHelp Certified Coach and Support Group Leader 

on 4/23/10 1:48 pm - McKinney, TX
Thank you all for responding!  I'm glad I'm not the only one and I think we've reached a consensus on it may have something to do with a lack of something in our diet.  I noticed on all those with pictures that you have light complexions and most of look like we're close to the same age, and a few years out from WLS.  I wonder if all that could be a factor also?  I have blue eyes and light skin and have always burned very easy in the sunlight.

I'm going back to my hemotologist in a couple of weeks and I'm going to tell him about the responses I've received to this.

Is there anybody else out there with our problem?



V Lynn 

on 7/13/10 8:12 pm - Granite City, IL
 Has anyone ever came up with some type of answer to this?  I TOO am experiencing it and I'm sooo tired of it!!!  I looked for vitamin K today, but they said it only comes in prescription.  I did see it added in some calcuim caltrate vitamin, but we're suppose to take citrate, so I didn't get it.  If there's something I can take I want to know!!!  It IS embarrassing, I'm 45 yrs old, not 70!!!
on 7/14/10 7:35 am - McKinney, TX
After seeing about 4 doctors, including a hematologist who ran every test imaginable after my 29 vials blood donation, I have a semi-answer.  All my tests only showed that I was on the low side of normal for iron.  After taking and combining all the advice from the doctors, I began taking an iron pill every morning on an empty stomach, doubled up on my Biotin to 10,000 mg a day, and am giving myself B12 shots once each month (I can't tell the shots have helped with the skin problem).  When I have the money for the prescription, I also use a Retin A cream on my arms at bedtime (that was the dermatologist suggestion). 

When I started the iron I could see an improvement almost immediately.  My skin seemed to be "thicker".  The hematologist told me that he could see through my skin and that my arms lacked collagen, thus the thin skin.  Though he couldn't find anything specific, he is certain the thin skin is due to our gastric surgeries.  Even though my arms are much improved, I've noticed that it's been tearing again including a 2" gash on my arm just leaning on the edge of a door.  With summer and short sleeves it's even more noticable.  I usually am wearing one or more bandaids at all times & I keep them in my purse for those skin tears.

It certainly is embarrassing.  I've had several doctors ask if I was a bleeder.  I do bruise easily on my legs but it's from my elbow to my hand that is the worst.

Have you talked to your bariatric surgeon about your arms?  I would interested in his/her take on this.  My doctor told me he had never had another patient with this (unless they were old).  He's been doing bariatric surgery for 30+ years.  Since this only started about 2 years after my surgery, I've got to believe it's some kind of vitamin deficiency.

Good luck to you.  If you or anyone else has a remedy, please pass it on!


V Lynn 

on 7/15/10 10:02 am - Granite City, IL
 I picked up some extra vitamins for "hair, skin, and nails".  It includes biotin, collagen, and gelatin.  I guess we'll see how that works.  I'm not even sure how much to take.  But I've been taking biotin faithfully for 3 yrs now.  I take like 3000 mcg's a day.  I checked into Vitamin K, as someone had mentioned, but that's only a prescription.  So I thought I would double up on my multi-vit's to get some more of that in.  I just don't want to "over do" it.  I do realize that too much of vitamins isn't good for you either.  Who knows.....
Kathleen F.
on 9/1/11 1:01 pm

You can buy vitamin K at any health food store. Vitacost has a number of choices like this:

on 9/22/13 7:17 am

I did research on my puter, one of the things I read was that oriential women eat a pickled bean dish called natto, natto is very high in K2 I found K2 at vitacost.  another thing I read was sunscreen, you have to be religious about putting sunscreen on arms and face.  I found a sunscreen 45 at vita cost.  At puritans pride I found retin a and another tidbit, if you can get your gynocologist to do this is to add a pea sized bit of premarin with your creams and lotions.  That's what I read, I am out thirteen years out of surgery RNY and have spent too much time ignoring things so I have to do my homework.  If this post is approved it will be passed on to all of you.

on 7/15/10 1:45 pm
My mother has this problem---and no, she's not had WLS. Her dermatologist told her it was the result of sun damage, and was very common on people with a particular skin type.Mom's got the sort of skin that turns red instead of tanning. Her eyes are hazel, and her hair is a light reddish-brown.

I don't know if they've checked her iron recently, but I'll tell her she might want to start taking some, just to see if it helps. She bruises/bleeds if she even LOOKS at something rough. (*grin*)

I SO hope this isn't something I've inherited!!!
on 7/15/10 6:45 pm - McKinney, TX
I've never thought about coloring, etc.  I am very light complected, burn instead of tan, and as a child who was raised in Arizona and did not use sun screen, I had several horrible sun burns with blisters, etc.  My eyes are blue.

Well, I hope you haven't inherited this disgusting thing too.  We'll keep checking as time goes on and surely someone will find something,


V Lynn 

on 9/30/12 1:56 am
 Did you find out what was causing this? We are at a loss. We went to a Dr. that had no sympathy and was very rude. Which turned my husband off to Dr's at all. He is still having issues. He lost 60 lbs a couple of years ago, and this has been happening since. He has blue eyes and light hair. 
Stacy H.
on 4/18/13 8:00 pm - Mesquite, TX

I am curious if you found out anything about this? I am 44 years old, 2 1/2 years out from DS and have lost 270 lbs. My arms are terrible about busting and bleeding, but I clot very quickly. I love to do yard work so I look like I have battled a barb wired fence. I would like to know if my iron is that low. I tried to donatee blood back in February and minimal iron level was 12.5 and I was only 12.4 which was good but just off. Been researching everything I can about this...