Morphea is a medical condition which can be seen as discolored and hardened skin which affects less than 3 people in 100,000 people. It is a form of scleroderma wherein the skin gets thickened due to deposition of collagen. If the scleroderma affects internal organs then it is called systemic scleroderma. Morphea mostly affects only the skin and joints in severe cases. This is a disease which can leave scars in the body. People with scars on visible parts of the body may develop unaesthetic appearance and need cosmetic surgeries to gain back the confidence of look. If the Morphea is deeply penetrated it can affect the functioning of muscles and decrease the mobility of joints.
Can Morphea Be Reversed?
The Morphea can be identified as thick and hardened patches on the skin which are reddish in color and turns white or yellow towards the center. There are different types of Morphea such as plaques Morphea, generalized plaque Morphea, pan sclerotic Morphea, and linear Morphea. Collagen is an integral part of connective tissue. It is found in skin, tendons, bones, and ligaments. If the amount of collagen deposited is too high the skin becomes hardened. There are a number of factors which can trigger the deposition of collagen such as trauma and environmental exposure. Collagen-producing cells become overactive in Morphea. It is also assumed to be an autoimmune disorder which affects the skin. Be assured that morphea is not a contagious disease and it will not spread by touch.
Diagnosis of morphea can be done by a dermatologist or a rheumatologist. The patient will be the first person to see the changes in the skin. There will be hard discolored patches on the skin which may become thickened. There is no differential diagnosis test for Morphea. The doctors will examine your skin and may take a small skin sample for analysis. The doctor will also perform tests to rule out the occurrence of systemic scleroderma. Systemic scleroderma not only affects external layers, but also affects the internal organs. A scleroderma is an aggressive form of the disease. Patients with Morphea patches on head and neck should visit an ophthalmologist, as these lesions can penetrate into the eyes and can result in ophthalmic complications. The lesions present in hands and legs can restrict the mobility and cause joint pains there will be lost of hair and sweat glands in the affected area.
Depending upon the condition the doctor may or may not to give any medications. If the symptoms are severe the doctor may advice corticosteroids and immune suppressant drugs to reduce inflammation and spread. For those patients who do not need any medication, they will be advised to apply moisturizer on the affected area and avoid the use of harsh chemicals and soaps as these chemicals can worsen the Morphea. Over a period of time, the patches of Morphea may lighten and there will be softening of the skin. Morphea subside on its own after a period of 3 to 5 years.
Temperature control can also help in preventing the spread of Morphea use humidifier to add moisture in the room and avoid taking hot water bath for long hours, apply sunscreen whenever you go out.
Skin deformity can be corrected to an extent with the help of cosmeceutical procedures, application of makeup products where Morphea has affected joints and has caused deformities. The skin layers cannot be restored to normal look; hence Morphea is not a reversible condition in terms of disappearance of the patches. Measures can be taken only to get a better outlook and improve aesthetic appearance. The chances of developing new lesions of Morphea are also common.
The patches developed due to Morphea can lighten over a period of time, but will not fade away. The disease onset, progression, and regression cannot be controlled there can only be symptomatic treatment. The disease subsides in 3 to 5 years and the damaged occurred cannot be reversed.
- American College of Rheumatology. “Scleroderma.” https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Scleroderma