By Gary M. White, MD

There are various reports of consumption of alcohol reliably and repeatedly causing purpura of the lower legs, e.g., about the ankles. Biopsy may or may not show vasculitis. Onset is 1-6 hours after consumption of some form of alcohol.


A 34-year-old woman with red non-blanching palpable purpura on both lower legs and this had developed soon after drinking alcohol 2 days previously. She reported that similar lesions had repeatedly developed on her lower legs for the last 2 years after consuming 1 bottle of soju (distilled liquor, 15% alcohol in 360 ml). [Ann Dermatol. 2010; 22:99–101]

A 26-year-old woman with a 2-year history of episodic tender, nonpruritic, purpuric macules and papules on the back of her feet and legs with associated edema. She reported that several hours after drinking beer, wine, or liquor, she develops purpuric lesions that resolved within 2 to 7 days. [JAAD. 2014; 70: e42–e43.]


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