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Granuloma annulare: Signs and symptoms

This skin condition rarely causes symptoms, such as pain or itch. Because there are different types, it can show up on the skin in various ways.

These pictures of granuloma annulare show what you may see on your skin. Some people develop more than one type, so they have a few of these signs.

Pictures of granuloma annulare

Localized granuloma annulare

Most people develop this type, which causes a raised ring-shaped patch on the skin. Many of these patches are reddish in color (A), but they can also be pink, violet, or skin-colored (B).

Before you see the rash, you may notice bumps on your skin. These bumps join together to form the rash.

Localized granuloma annulare on skin

Generalized granuloma annulare

Some people develop widespread bumps on their skin that grow together to form large patches, such as shown here. The patches appear in many colors, including skin-colored, reddish pink, violet, or yellow.

Generalized granuloma annulare on skin

Subcutaneous granuloma annulare

When this type develops, you often see a roundish, firm, and usually painless lump in the skin. You may have a single mass or clusters of lumps. Most lumps stay the same for months, but a lump can also grow quickly. The lumps tend to be flesh-colored, pink, or red.

Subcutaneous granuloma annulare on skin

Perforating granuloma annulare

This rare type usually develops on the hands and fingers. It causes small bumps that often feel scaly. The bumps may leak fluid, itch, or feel painful. Some people have a few bumps. Others develop widespread bumps that join together to form raised patches on the skin. When this type clears, it may leave scars on the skin.

 Perforating granuloma annulare on skin

Patch granuloma annulare

When this rare type develops, you see one or more patches on the skin. The patches may be red, reddish brown, or violet. Some people have one or a few patches; others have widespread patches.

Patch granuloma annulare on skin

There are other types of granuloma annulare, but these are very rare.

Images used with permission of Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology:

  • Image 1, 2, 3, 4, 5: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016;75:457-65.

  • Image 6: J Am Acad Dermatol. 2000;42(3):417-21.

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.