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Calcium Deposits on Face

Calcium Cutis (also known as Calcinosis Cutis) is a condition where calcium deposits are formed and accumulated in the skin particularly in areas of the forehead, eyes, nails and even around the teeth. They look like small hard lumps or snow balls scattered across the body. Most of the time, they are asymptomatic but clinical research suggests that some symptoms gradually appear on the early stage of the disorder such as: itchiness and redness of the skin, development of lesions and formation of ulcers as well as white milky discharges, edematous face, pain and disability when deposits are on the joints and in rare occasions, cognitive impairment and psychosis occur when deposits are lodged inside the brain.


Types of Calcium deposits on face

There are four types of Calcinosis:

  • Dystrophic Calcinosis is the most common type of the disorder. This is where calcium and phosphate levels in the blood are identical with each other and usually affects inflamed, malignant and necrotic tissues.
  • Metastatic Calcinosis also called “ lipocalcinogranulomatosis” is usually genetic. This occurs when elevated calcium and phosphate levels are observed in the blood. It affects areas in the joint tissues near the shoulders, hips or ankles.
  • Idiopathic Calcinosis has no known origin even in the absence of systemic metabolic disorder or trauma to the tissue. One distinct factor of this type of calcinosis is that it is localized in one area
  • Iatrogenic Calcinosis occurs post surgery or any medical procedure wherein calcium and phosphate deposits enter the subcutaneous area right after a procedure.

The disease is diagnosed by undergoing tissue biopsy of the lesions. Local anesthetics are filtered through the biopsied area and is performed in an outpatient set-up. Confirmative tests will note the presence of calcium deposits in the lesions.

Causes of Calcium deposits on face

There are a lot of factors that contribute to calcium deposits on the face, often times, it is simply an underlying symptom of a more serious condition. Medical researchers also believe that improper elimination of calcium and phosphate deposits in the bloodstream through the kidneys can also be a contributing factor. Enumerated below are the common reasons that contribute to the disorder.

  • Over stimulation of thyroid glands – they control the metabolic activities of calcium, thus too much stimulation can cause elevated blood levels and calcified deposits in the skin
  • Facial injury – a break on the skin integrity of the face can cause calcium balls to be lodged inside the facial tissues
  • Paget disease – people suffering from this disorder have elevated alkaline phosphates in their blood which aids in calcium deposition
  • Infections – during infection, less blood supply is delivered to the tissues causing cell death and when this occurs dead tissues slowly calcifies
  • Milk – alkali syndrome – although uncommon, this is due to overconsumption of sodium bicarbonate and calcium containing compounds resulting to hypercalcemia that may lead to calcium accumulated in the skin
  • Sarcoidosis – extreme calcium phosphate levels are noted in the blood which is a predisposing factor of calcinosis
  • Chronic renal failure – is the most common factor that negatively affects calcium metabolism thus allowing the calcium salts to form and precipitate
  • Intravenous administration of calcium or phosphate – these solutions when administered in the blood may cause formation of calcium salts
  • Tumor Lysis Syndrome – hypocalcemia is common in patients suffering from this disorder and because of this, the need to administer calcium intravenously is frequent which greatly exposes the risk of tissues to calcify
  • Prolonged use of Calcium gel – diagnostic procedures such as EEG, ECG and etc. uses calcium gel to attach the electrodes on the placement site, this increases the risk of calcium balls to be deposited in the area
  • Werner syndrome – is a genetic disorder involving premature tissue calcification of the tendons, ligaments and subcutaneous tissues
  • Pseudoxanthoma elasticum – is the condition where elastic fibers are abnormally decalcified
  • Rothmund-Thomson syndrome – yellowish papular calcium balls are scattered across the extremities particularly in the nails of the hands and feet
  • Panniculitis – usually affects newborns wherein calcification of dead subcutaneous tissues occur combined with fatty acids released by defective fat cells contribute to formation of calcium salts
  • Lupus Erythematosus – although rare, calcification is concentrated on the lesions of the lupus profundus
  • CREST Syndrome – tightening of the skin is observed with small calcium deposits developed late in this disorder; the syndrome is usually composed of 5 disorders ( Calcinosis, Raynaud’s phenomenon, esophageal dysmotility, sclerodactyly and telangiectasis)

How to remove a calcium deposit on the face?

In cases where Calcinosis is severe, there is no other way to address the problem than to surgically remove it. Below are various methods:

  • Carbon Dioxide Laser Therapy – a treatment that observes the use of light energy in penetrating the skin, this procedure fully removes calcium deposits on the dermis
  • Iontophoresis – often called “ionization”; small amounts of electrical current are involved in applying the medications to the skin such as cortisone to decalcify calcium deposits
  • Surgical Excision – calcified snow balls are surgically excised to remove them from the skin, this procedure is recommended when other treatment alternatives fail to offer relief
  • Surgical Debridement – calcium balls are pulled out from the tissue layer of the skin using sterile scalpels and scissors; sometimes a topical ointment is applied to the skin in conjunction with this procedure
  • Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy – is usually recommended for severe calcinosis that is resistant and recurrent even after multiple treatments; it is usually associated with systemic sclerosis

Treatment

For scenarios where calcium deposits on the skin are minimal and less serious, pharmacological approach is a better way to address the problem as it is non-invasive.

Drug Therapies

  • Prednisone ( Steroids) –inhibits calcium deposits
  • Warfarin – when given in low doses, it treats the disorder on its early stages
  • Magnesium and Aluminum Antacids – inhibits formulation of hypercalcemia
  • Colchicine – reduces pain and inflammation
  • Diltiazem – prevents influx of calcium to the cells
  • Antibiotics – controls the spread infection
  • Sodium Thiosulfate – when given intravenously it positively treats calciphylaxis
  • Minocycline – ultimately lessens ulceration and inflammation but minimally improves lesional size

Home Remedies

There are plenty of ways to treat calcium deposits in the face. The following are dermatologically tested to zero–out calcium balls in the face:

  • Aloe Vera – is a home remedy useful to remove “millia”, they are small white crystal deposits found near the eye, it is believed that when applied, aloe vera makes the skin smooth allowing it to easily to fall off.
  • Olive Oil – extra virgin olive oil is a close match to the natural oil produced by our skin and because of this it is absorbed quickly which aides the calcium deposits to slowly come off.
  • Antibiotic Creams – they are often effective in removing the small calcium balls as its antibacterial properties are believed to soften the hardened deposits.
  • Ice Application – apply ice on the affected area as it can decrease the inflammation and minimize instances of deposits.
  • Topical Retinoid Cream – this remedy is known to be effective in sloughing off dead skin cells allowing the new cells to replace them while slowly removing the deposits.
  • Fruit Peel Face Pack – fruit peels are known to have decreased levels of fruit acid which makes it a safe topical exfoliant, it is best to exfoliate above the swelling for better results.

Prevention

Although there are a lot of natural treatments to remove calcium deposits, incorporation of healthy habits every day is still the best way to address the issue such as:

  • Increasing Vitamin C intake by loading up on fruits and vegetables
  • Close monitoring of calcium and phosphorous levels in the blood particularly to patients with end stage renal disease
  • Drinking plenty of fluids as it helps the kidneys flush out toxins
  • Washing off the face with water every day after waking up to prevent building up of calcium deposits on skin around the eyes
  • Restrict Vitamin D consumption, adults are limited to 200 IU daily consumption
  • Increase Magnesium ( nuts, seeds, avocados, yogurt, beans, brown rice) and Vit. K (dark leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, brussels, prunes, cucumbers, dried basil leaves) diet as lack of these minerals increases the risk of calcinosis
  • Indulge in warm daily tub soaks for 20-30 mins. As this prevents development of deposits
  • Daily flossing and tooth brushing prevents calcium deposits in the teeth

Pictures

Pictures of calcium deposits on face, fingers, skin, teeth, forehead, feet and so on:


Calcium deposits on arms


Calcium deposits on face near the eyes


Picture of calcium deposits on face (cheeks)


Calcium deposits on fingers


Calcium deposits on forehead


Calcium deposits under the lips

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