What is granuloma annulare?
Granuloma annulare is a benign skin condition characterized by small, raised bumps
that form a ring with a normal or sunken center. The cause of granuloma annulare is
unknown and it is found in patients of all ages. The condition tends to be seen in
otherwise healthy people. Sometimes it is associated with diabetes or thyroid disease.
What are the symptoms of granuloma annulare?
The following are the most common signs or symptoms of granuloma annulare. However,
each individual may experience symptoms differently:
Yellowish or skin-colored to red, firm, thickened bumps
One or several rings of bumps on feet, legs, or hands
The eruptions can be confined to one area (less than 10 lesions) or spread to multiple
areas (greater than 10 lesions)
Lesions may be present for years
The symptoms of granuloma annulare may resemble other skin conditions. Always talk
with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis. You should contact your healthcare
provider if you have a ring anywhere on your skin that lasts more than a few weeks.
How is granuloma annulare diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnosis is usually
confirmed with a skin biopsy (removing a small sample of tissue for exam under a microscope).
Treatment for granuloma annulare
Specific treatment for granuloma annulare will be discussed with you by your healthcare
provider based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the condition
Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
Because granuloma annulare usually causes no symptoms and clears up by itself, you
may not need treatment (except for cosmetic reasons). It is not contagious. If you
do receive treatment, it may include corticosteroids (cream, tape, or injections).
Some healthcare providers use liquid nitrogen to freeze the bumps. Other treatments,
such as dapsone, retinoids, and niacinamide, may be considered for widespread granuloma
annulare. Since these treatments carry the risk of toxicity, a consultation with a
dermatologist is usually advised. Most granuloma annulare rashes resolve without treatment
within 2 years. However, it is not uncommon to have new rings appear years later.