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What is morphea, or localized scleroderma?

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Quick Answer

Morphea, or localized scleroderma, is a rare condition of the skin that causes discolored patching to occur, according to the American Medical Association. The condition is not painful, and patching of the skin most often occurs on the back, chest and abdomen, explains Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Morphea most often clears over time, but it is common for the condition to recur, states Mayo Clinic. Some types of morphea can cause issues with joint movement. Symptoms associated with morphea can vary, depending on the stage of the disease. Common symptoms include red or purple patching on the skin, patches that are linear in appearance, patches that develop slowly with a light or white center, loss of hair and changing of the affected skin. Areas of affected skin become hard, thick, shiny and dry.

While morphea typically affects the skin and tissue just under the skin, it can also affect bone, according to Mayo Clinic. Most often, the condition lasts for several years and leaves some patches that appear discolored or darkened. A person who notices patchy skin or areas of skin that appear thick or dark should see a physician, as early detection and treatment can slow progression of healthy skin being affected. Treatment helps control itch and the development of new lesions, states the American Medical Association.

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