What is it?
Morphea is a rare skin condition that causes red patches that thicken into firm oval shaped areas which gradually develop a lighter center. The lesions typically appear on the trunk but can also appear on the face, arms and legs. In most cases, morphea will resolve on its own in a few years. There are several types of morphea depending on the spread and depth of the lesions.
What causes Morphea?
The cause of morphea is unclear, but it is likely related to an autoimmune process. It is a form of scleroderma which affects connective tissue and blood vessels. Localized scleroderma is limited to the skin, but can sometimes involve deeper tissues or muscles.
Who is at risk?
Morphea is not a common disease, but is more common in women than men, more common in African Americans than others and will usually present in people in their mid 40s.
How is it diagnosed?
A dermatologist can diagnose morphea by examination of the skin. Blood work or a small biopsy of the affected area is sometimes taken to further identify changes and scope of the condition