This patient information and photograph on Morphea (Scleroderma) is provided by John L. Meisenheimer, M.D. a board certified Dermatologist and skin care specialist based in Orlando, Florida. This information is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice or treatment of a dermatologist or other physician.
What is it? Morphea is a peculiar disorder of the skin. It can occur at any age, but it is much
more frequently seen in adults over thirty and more commonly in women. Typically it appears as a purplish patch of skin that later thickens and becomes waxy white in coloration. Old inactive lesions become thinned and show speckled discoloration.
What causes it? Morphea is an inflammatory disease of the skin, but the exact cause has not been discovered. There is an excessive amount of collagen production in the skin but the reason for this increased collagen is not clear.
Is it dangerous? For the typical healthy person localized Morphea is usually a harmless disorder. It is not related to cancer and it does not involve internal organs. There are a few variations of Morphea that can be more problematic and may require more aggressive therapy.
Can it be cured? Treatment may help prevent growth of active spots, but there is no cure. Individual lesions may remain active for years. After several years many spots will "burn out" and become inactive.
Will it spread? New lesions of morphea may continue to develop and active lesions may show slow growth.
Is it contagious? Morphea is not contagious and you can not "catch it" from anyone.