Granuloma annulare is a chronic, harmless skin disorder of unknown cause in which small, firm, raised bumps form a ring with normal or slightly sunken skin in the center.
The bumps are red, violet, or flesh-colored, and a person may have one ring or several. The bumps usually cause no pain or itching and they most often form on the feet, legs, hands, or fingers of children and adults. In a few people, clusters of granuloma annulare bumps erupt when the skin is exposed to the sun.
Most often, granuloma annulare heals without any treatment. Corticosteroid creams under waterproof bandages, surgical tape saturated with a corticosteroid, or injected corticosteroids may help clear up the rash. People with large affected areas often benefit from treatment that combines phototherapy (exposure to ultraviolet light) with the use of psoralens (drugs that make the skin more sensitive to the effects of ultraviolet light). This treatment is called PUVA (psoralens plus ultraviolet A).
Last full review/revision December 2006 by Peter C. Schalock, MD