(mor-FEE-ah) comes from a Greek word that means ÒformÓ or Òstructure.Ó The word refers to local patches of scleroderma. The first signs of the disease are reddish patches of skin that thicken into firm, oval-shaped areas. The center of each patch becomes ivory colored with violet borders. These patches sweat very little and have little hair growth. Patches appear most often on the chest, stomach, and back. Sometimes they appear on the face, arms, and legs. In most cases, morphea improves spontaneously over time (typically 3 to 5 years); however, patients are often left with patches of darkened or discolored skin and, in rare cases, muscle damage. The cause of this condition is unknown. Morphea can be either localized or generalized. Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), supported by ORDR-NCATS and NHGRI.