Navigate Up

Full Library - A-Z Index


Print This Page

Granuloma annulare

Granuloma annulare is a long-term (chronic ) skin disease consisting of a rash with reddish bumps arranged in a circle or ring.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Granuloma annulare most often affects children and young adults. It is slightly more common in females.

The condition is usually seen in otherwise healthy people. Occasionally, it may be associated with diabetes or thyroid disease. Its cause is unknown.

Symptoms

Granuloma annulare usually causes no other symptoms, but the rash may be slightly itchy.

Patients usually notice a ring of small, firm bumps (papules) over the backs of the forearms, hands, or feet. Occasionally, they may find a number of rings.

Rarely, granuloma annulare may appear as a firm nodule under the skin of the arms or legs. In some cases, the rash may spread all over the body.

Signs and tests

Your health care provider may think you have a fungal infection when looking at your skin. A skin scraping and KOH test can be used to tell the difference between granuloma annulare and a fungal infection.

You may also need a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of granuloma annulare.

Treatment

Because granuloma annulare usually causes no symptoms, you may not need treatment except for cosmetic reasons.

Very strong steroid creams or ointments are sometimes used to clear up the rash more quickly. Injections of steroids directly into the rings may also be effective. Some health care providers may choose to freeze the bumps with liquid nitrogen.

People with severe or widespread cases may need ultraviolet light therapy or medicines that suppress the immune system.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most granuloma annulare disappears without treatment within 2 years. Sometimes, however, the rings can remain for many years. The appearance of new rings years later is not uncommon.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you notice a ring anywhere on your skin that does not go away within a few weeks.

References

Habif TP. Cutaneous manifestations of internal disease. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2009:chap 26.

Morelli JG. Diseases of the dermis. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap. 658.

Updated: 7/11/2012

Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com