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4390 Morphea--A-form-of-Scleroderma-

Morphea - A form of Scleroderma

Morphea -  A form of Scleroderma

Morphea is a form of Scleroderma that literally means “hard skin”. It usually affects only the uppermost layers of your skin, but in some cases may involve fatty or connective tissue below your skin. Morphea is usually chronic or recurrent. This is a rare skin condition that causes purplish or reddish patches on one's skin. It generally appears on the abdomen, back or chest, but it can also affect the face, arms, and legs. This condition tends to affect only the outermost layer of the skin. Sometimes, it can also restrict movements in one's joints.

The exact cause of Morphea is not known although doctors do know that it's not contagious. It is also believed that an unusual reaction of the immune system plays an important role in the development of Morphea.

The onset of Morphea may be related to:

• Recent infection such as chickenpox or measles
• Radiation therapy
• Repeated trauma to the affected area
• Autoimmune diseases including Vitiligo, diabetes, thyroid disease
• Certain medications such as bleomycin and penicillamine

The symptoms associated with this condition include:

• Discoloration of the affected skin - lighter or darker than the surrounding area
• Linear patches, often seen on the arms and legs
• Loss of hair and sweat glands in the affected area over time
• Oval shaped patches that may change colors and eventually develop a whitish center
• Hardening and thickening of the skin

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you have Morphea:

  • Morphea dries out the affected skin, hence, moisturizers may help soften and improve the feel of the skin.
  • The sun can darken skin already discolored by morphea, so be sure you wear sunscreen. Cover affected the skin and avoid direct contact with the sun whenever possible.
  • Avoid hot showers as it can dry your skin.

If you notice any patches of discoloration, hardening or thickening of your skin, contact your dermatologist at the earliest!