Signs and symptoms of morphea vary, depending on the type and stage of the condition. They include:
- Reddish or purplish oval patches of skin, often on the abdomen, chest or back
- Patches that gradually develop a lighter or whitish center
- Linear patches, especially when on the arms or legs
- A gradual change in the affected skin, which becomes hard, thickened, dry and shiny
- Loss of hair and sweat glands in the affected area over time
Morphea usually affects only the skin and underlying tissue and, rarely, bone. The condition generally lasts several years and then disappears on its own. But it usually leaves some patches of darkened or discolored skin.
When to see a doctor
If you notice reddish patches of hardening or thickening skin, see your doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment may help slow the development of new patches and allow your doctor to identify and treat complications before they worsen.
Sept. 29, 2015
- AskMayoExpert. Morphea. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Morphea. In: Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012.
- Ravelli NF, et al. Interventions for morphea. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://ovidsp.tx.ovid.com/sp-3.16.0b/ovidweb.cgi. Accessed Aug. 6, 2015.
- Tolkachjov SN, et al. Progressive hemifacial atrophy: A review. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases. 2015;10:39.
- Sartori-Valinoitt JC, et al. Updates on morphea: Role of vascular injury and advances in treatment. Autoimmune Diseases. 2013;2013:467808.
- Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA). Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/PrintVersion.aspx?cs=MAYO&s=ND. Accessed Aug. 6, 2015.
- Valanclene G, et al. Pathogenesis and treatment modalities of localized scleroderma. Medicina (Kaunas). 2010;46:649.