Granuloma annulare is a skin condition that commonly affects children and young adults. While it’s not a type of skin cancer, it’s safe to say that it’s a chronic disorder characterized by inflammation of the skin.
It usually appears over the knuckles, joints, and other skin surfaces that are subjected to frequent, mild injury. The rashes can form on the back of the hands, forearms, or top of the feet.
But unlike the usual rashes, granuloma annulare looks like small, slightly raised bumps on the skin. It appears symmetrical and has a noticeable border around the rash. Oftentimes, these bumps expand and join to form rings. The center of each ring may look somewhat depressed or hollow and slightly pale or light brown. Its appearance is sometimes confused with ringworm or rashes caused by Lyme disease.
Aside from the skin bumps, granuloma annulare has no other symptoms. It’s not particularly itchy or painful, but it can sometimes feel tender to the touch. The bumps may clear away on their own, but recurrence is very possible, and they can appear on the same spots. Some patients with granuloma annulare may even develop multiple rings on the skin.
It’s not clear what causes granuloma annulare and is categorized as an idiopathic skin disease. However, dermatologists say that there are several factors that can trigger the development of skin lesions and raised bumps. Some of the possible causes of granuloma annulare are:
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There are several types of granuloma annulare depending on the size, shape, and position of the bumps on the skin. Some people may show different symptoms of granuloma annulare and develop more than one type at the same time. Here are the common forms of this skin disorder:
This is the most common type of granuloma annulare that affects the majority of the patients. The bumps that form usually look circular or semi-round shaped and they have a visible border. The skin patches can appear reddish, pink, violet, or skin-colored.
Localized granuloma annulare typically affects one area of the body. The common sites where you can see its patches are on the feet, hands, wrists, and sometimes ankles.
This type is not as common as the localized granuloma annulare but it can still affect a good number of adults. Also known as disseminated granuloma annulare, this usually affects more than one area of the body at the same time.
They’re typically widespread and they grow to form large skin colored bumps. It can be accompanied by itchy skin and cause general discomfort. It can be seen on the arms, legs, and torso.
This type is usually diagnosed among young children, and it develops under the skin. Unlike the usual raised bumps or rashes, subcutaneous granuloma annulare forms small and firm lumps beneath the skin. They’re usually harmless but they can grow quickly and multiply into clusters of lumps. You can normally locate them on the hands, arms, shins, legs, and scalp.
This is a rare disease that develops small, reddish bumps on the hands and fingers. The lesion of perforating granuloma annulare may contain fluid and sometimes leak through the skin. It can also feel painful and itchy.
This may develop into a widespread granuloma annulare since they can also join and form large patches across the skin. When the bumps and lesions are treated, they may leave a noticeable scar.
This is another uncommon form of granuloma annulare that forms bumps or patches that are localized to the fingers.
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Dermatologists believe that women are more prone to developing granuloma annulare than men. As with any chronic skin condition, frequent stress can be a potential trigger for granuloma annulare. Excess sun exposure and having photo-damaged skin can also increase your risk for developing this skin problem.
As with any consultation, a dermatologist may ask for your medical history and perform a visual examination of the bumps and rashes. A skin biopsy may be necessary to analyze the affected tissue and rule out possible skin infection. Other medical exams such as a blood test or CT scan may also be done to get a proper diagnosis.
Most of the time, mild cases of granuloma annulare can go away on its own. However, it can take several weeks up to months before it completely clears. For severe granuloma annulare cases that cover a large part of the body, or if you have visible lumps under the skin,, medical treatment will be required.
Some of the common treatment options for granuloma annulare are:
Visit our specialist at Dermatology and Skin Health and get the right treatment before the patches and bumps on your skin get worse. Our team of doctors can help provide accurate diagnoses and recommend the best solution to improve your overall skin condition. Call us today and book a consultation with us.
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