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Granuloma annulare: Overview

What exactly is granuloma annulare?

Granuloma annulare is a skin condition that usually causes a rash. It isn’t a type of cancer. It isn’t contagious.

It rarely causes symptoms, such as pain or itch, but it can show up on your skin in different ways.

What appears on your skin depends on the type of granuloma annulare you have. The most common type causes a slightly raised patch that is ringed by a noticeable border. This patch tends to form on a hand, arm, foot, or leg, but it can appear anywhere on the skin.

Granuloma annulare often causes a slightly raised patch on your skin that has a noticeable (and sometimes scaly) border.

Granuloma annulare often causes a slightly raised patch on your skin

Most people have one or a few patches on their skin. It’s also possible to have patches that cover a large amount of your body. Granuloma annulare can also cause a deep, round lump in the skin.

If you have a patch of granuloma annulare on your skin, it can be mistaken for another skin condition called ringworm. The two skin conditions look similar.

You can get an accurate diagnosis by seeing a board-certified dermatologist. If the diagnosis is granuloma annulare, you may not have to treat it. Granuloma annulare tends to go away on its own without treatment.

Image used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014;71(5):1020-22.

Howard A and White, Jr., CR. “Non-infectious granulomas.” In: Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick’s dermatology in general medicine (7th edition). McGraw Hill Medical, USA, 2008:1426-9.

Piette EW and Rosenbach M. “Granuloma annulare: Clinical and histologic variants, epidemiology, and genetics.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2016; 75:457-65.

Piette EW and Rosenbach M. “Granuloma annulare: Pathogenesis, disease associations and triggers, and therapeutic options.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2016; 75:467-9.

Prendiville JS. “Granuloma annulare.” In: Bolognia JL, et al. Dermatology. (second edition). Mosby Elsevier, Spain, 2008:369-73.