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What is it?

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease of unknown cause. The disease is rare and there seems to be a familial predisposition.

It affects mainly elderly people, with preference for females. The condition causes skin lesions and affects other organs like lungs, lymph nodes (glands), liver, spleen, eyes and bones.

Characteristics and symptoms

The skin lesions may manifest in different ways. The diagnosis must be made by examination of a biopsy of the lesion under a microscope (histological examination).

In acute disease, it may develop inflammatory nodules accompanied by fever and joint pain. It is most common in young women. In another clinical presentation, the skin lesions form elevated and reddish plaques, of varying sizes, which is most frequently seen in the face.


One of the most common manifestations is called Lupus pernio, and presents itself as infiltrated plaques located in the central regions of the face, with pale red or violet color.

Sarcoidosis may also form reddish plaques, ring-shaped with raised borders and depressed centers (due to atrophy) or the formation of subcutaneous nodules covered with normal looking skin.

One feature that may also occur is the infiltration of old scars, which become raised and reddish.

Besides the skin, sarcoidosis affects other organs. Lungs are the most usually affected, where the disease causes infiltration of the ganglia and lung tissue and can progress to pulmonary fibrosis, causing respiratory and cardiovascular difficulties.

The disease also causes enlargement of the liver and spleen, eye inflammation (uveitis) and bone and joint alterations.


The treatment of cutaneous lesions of sarcoidosis can be done with the use of topical corticosteroids or by steroid injections in the lesions.

When the disease is severe or with involvement of other organs, it requires treatment with systemic steroids or other substances such as chloroquine or immunosuppressive drugs.

Related articles

- Lupus
- Granuloma annulare

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