Hemosiderin is an iron-storage molecule. It forms when there is bleeding into a tissue: the red blood cells that leave the blood vessel die and start to break down and degrade, releasing hemoglobin which contains iron. Usually the white blood cells come in to "clean up" the area. As the white blood cells "eat" the hemoglobin molecule to get rid of it, a hemosiderin molecule is formed.
What is Hemosiderin Staining?
Hemosiderin staining also known as hemosiderosis is used to describe the yellow/brownish to purplish color stain formed under the skin after severe injury to the tissue. Hemosiderin staining can occur anywhere on the body including face, arms, legs, feet.
Normally the body's immune system (white blood cells) can remove and "clean up" the debris including the iron from the hemoglobin that was released into the skin. But if there was severe injury to the tissue or excessive bruising (lots of red blood cells being released), the iron may leave a "stain" in the skin.
What Can Cause Hemosiderin Staining?
Usually, there is an event or medical condition that causes excessive release of red blood cells into interstitial tissue including the skin:
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