5 Things You Need To Know About Anetoderma

It's normal for your skin to lose elasticity as you age, but aging isn't the only thing that can make your skin sag. Some skin conditions, like anetoderma, can have the same effect, and they can strike at a young age. Here are five things you need to know about anetoderma.

What are the signs of anetoderma?

Anetoderma affects the dermis, the middle layer of your skin. It destroys the normal structure of your dermis, which creates depressions in your skin. You may notice that some parts of your skin look more sunken in than they used to be. The skin on top of or around the depressed area may look loose and saggy.

You may also notice lesions on your skin. These lesions are generally fairly large, though they can range from being as small as 1 cm to several centimeters in diameter. The lesions look like wrinkled freckles and may be the same color as your skin, grey-white, or blue. Some people only get a few of these lesions, while others may develop hundreds of them. The lesions may also grow into each other and form even larger lesions.

These changes tend to affect the trunk, the thighs, and the upper arms, but other parts of the body can also be affected. Anetoderma doesn't usually affect the palms or the soles of the feet. If you notice sunken in areas of skin, sagging skin, or strange lesions, talk to your dermatologist because you may be seeing signs of anetoderma.

What causes anetoderma?

There are two different types of anetoderma: primary and secondary. Primary anetoderma has no proven cause, though researchers have some theories as to why it may occur. The condition tends to co-occur with autoimmune diseases like lupus, so the two conditions may be linked in some way. The condition can also sometimes run in families, though this is rare and doesn't explain most of the cases. More research is needed to figure out why some people develop primary anetoderma.

Secondary anetoderma has been shown to be associated with a long list of conditions, including infections like tuberculosis and syphillis, cancers like lymphoma, and inflammatory diseases like sarcoidosis. Your dermatologist will be able to let you know which type of anetoderma you have.

Is it serious?

Anetoderma is a benign condition, so on its own, it's just a cosmetic issue, though a distressing one. However, if you are diagnosed with secondary anetoderma, the condition responsible for your anetoderma may be serious. 

Can dermatologists treat this condition?

It isn't possible for dermatologists to get rid of anetoderma lesions once they've formed. There is no cream or pill that you can use to get rid of them, unlike other, more treatable skin conditions. If you only have a few lesions or sunken areas, your dermatologist may be able to surgically remove the problem skin. If a lot of your skin is affected, surgery won't be practical. 

If you are diagnosed with secondary anetoderma, seeking treatment for the root cause of your skin condition may prove helpful. Treating the underlying medical condition may reduce the number of lesions on your skin and stop new lesions from developing.

How common is anetoderma?

Anetoderma is a rare skin condition. It generally affects women between the ages of 20 and 40, though it's possible for anyone to be affected. It has also been reported to be more common in central Europe than in other parts of the world.

If you think you might be suffering from anetoderma, you should make an appointment with your dermatologist right away. Your dermatologist can diagnose and treat your condition.

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