The Color of Blood

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We do not store details you enter into this form. Please see our privacy policy for more information. Click here to return to the Medical News Today home page. In this article, we look at a variety of facts about blood, including color, types, and donation. Although veins appear blue through the skin, blood is not blue. The reason why veins might seem to be blue may have to do with the level of oxygen in the blood.

Arteries transport blood that is rich in oxygen away from the heart to be used by organs and tissues in the body. The veins return deoxygenated blood to the heart. It is a common myth that veins are blue because they carry deoxygenated blood. Blood in the human body is red regardless of how oxygen-rich it is, but the shade of red may vary. The level or amount of oxygen in the blood determines the hue of red. As blood leaves the heart and is oxygen-rich, it is bright red. When the blood returns to the heart, it has less oxygen.

It is still red but will be darker.

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This darker red appears blue because of how light travels through the skin. Some types of octopus, squid, and crustaceans have blue blood. Their blood contains a high concentration of copper.

No, not all blood is colored red

When copper mixes with oxygen, it gives their blood its blue color. The skink, which is a type of lizard, has green blood due to a buildup of biliverdin. Biliverdin and bilirubin are by-products of the liver. Humans also produce these two by-products. However, the human body sends biliverdin and bilirubin to the intestines and through the digestive system to be excreted. Skinks do not excrete biliverdin, so it builds up in their body, making the blood green. Everyone knows that blood is a vital component of the human body.

But just how much blood is in the body? The exact amount of blood in the body varies according to a person's size. The larger a person is, the more blood volume they have. Approximately 7—8 percent of a person's total weight is blood.

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That means an average-sized woman has about 9 pints of blood and an average-sized man about 12 pints. If a person loses too much blood, it can lead to a life-threatening condition called hemorrhagic shock. Research shows that shock usually occurs when a person loses 20 percent of their blood volume.

Symptoms of hemorrhagic shock include dizziness, low blood pressure , and confusion. A doctor will likely treat hemorrhagic shock with fluid resuscitation and blood transfusions.

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Everyone's blood contains the same elements or components. Human blood contains red cells, white cells, platelets, and plasma. Even though all blood contains those same components, not everyone's blood is alike.

There are different blood types based on the absence or presence of specific antigens and antibodies on the surface of the red blood cells. An antigen is a substance that can cause an immune system response in the body. The two most common antigens are A and B. For example, people with the blood type A have an A-antigen on their red blood cells, and people with type B blood have a B-antigen. Some people have both.

People with O blood type do not have either A or B antigens on the red blood cells. Type O is the most common blood type in the world. If the blood is a year old, it might not be important to a crime committed yesterday. At the frontiers of the urban: thinking concepts and practices globally — London.


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Whenever you see blood outside your body, it looks red. Heme is the part of the hemoglobin molecule that latches onto oxygen and then releases it to tissues around the body. People with pale skin may think their blood is blue inside the body. You have a good question. The "color" of blood depends on how much oxygen is in the blood; when here is plenty of oxygen, the blood is more "reddish in color.

When hemoglobin has a full oxygen load, it gives the blood a reddish color. Here are a few questions for you to think about:. To simply answer your question, it is because of the science of light.


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  • The colors we are able to see is due to the wavelengths of light that go back into our eyes. We look at the veins which are red, but the light that hits our skin that goes back into our eyes for our brain to understand it, is blue to our brain. Your veins are not actually blue. They are a dark reddish-brown, but appear blue because the fat under our skin only allows blue light to travel all the way down to our veins.

    Since it is the only color of light that makes it to our veins, it is the only color that is reflected, and thus our veins appear blue! I hope this helps. Your blood is actually always red! Blood in your veins has very little oxygen and is a dark red color that looks almost blue when covered by your skin.

    Your arteries have bright red blood because it has a lot of oxygen in it that is being carried throughout your body to be used by tissues. So it is your skin that is tricking you into thinking your blood looks blue when in fact it is always red. A common answer to this question is that deoxygenated blood in the body is blue and when it comes to the surface like when you get a cut it turns red so your veins look blue because your body contains deoxygenated blood. Although it is true that you have deoxygenated blood in your body, it is not the reason why your veins appear blue - your blood is NEVER really actually blue.

    Deoxygenated blood is dark red and when it comes to the surface it's red. So back to your question about why your veins don't appear reddish when looking at them from your skin.

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    The Color of Blood - Quest

    It depends on a variety of things. One is that the skin usually absorbs blue light; subcutaneous fat, or fat beneath the skin, only allows for blue light to be absorbed all the way to your veins so your veins reflect back that way. Also, since the blood in your body is a lot darker, the veins appear darker. You may also notice that different sized blood vessels appear to be different colors. Another thing it can depend on is how you see color and how your brain perceives certain color against the color of your skin.

    If you're ever eaten meat or dissected an animal you can see that veins aren't really blue, they are in fact reddish in color.