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What is cutaneous sarcoidosis?

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Cutaneous sarcoidosis is a condition that causes lesions on the skin and is a complication of systemic sarcoidosis, says American Family Physician. About a third of patients with systemic sarcoidosis have cutaneous sarcoidosis. Cutaneous sarcoidosis can be chronic or self-limiting, mild or severe.

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Cutaneous sarcoidosis lesions can take many forms, including plaques, scars, ulcers and papules, says American Family Physician. It can also show up as lupus pernio, which are plaques that cause discoloration of the patient's lips, nose, ears and cheeks, says Cleveland Clinic. In its severe form, lupus pernio cause permanent damage to the cartilage or the bone. It occurs most frequently in older African American and West Indian women.

Other signs of cutaneous sarcoidosis include patches of skin that are a lighter color than the surrounding skin and ichthyosis, says American Family Physician. Ichthyosis is a condition where the skin becomes dry, thick and scaly, says the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Because cutaneous sarcoidosis resembles so many other skin disorders, it is difficult to diagnose, states American Family Physician. Among the disorders cutaneous sarcoidosis imitates are rosacea, acne, psoriasis, discoid lupus erythematosus and lichen planus. Topical steroids are a common treatment for this condition.

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