What Is Scleroderma (Dermatological)?

Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes connective tissue and skin to grow abnormally. It leads to scarring and hardening of the joints, skin and internal organs. When it affects several parts of the body, it’s called systemic scleroderma. When it affects just one part, such as the skin, it is called localized scleroderma.

About 300,000 people in the United States have scleroderma, and two-thirds of that group has the localized type. Women are four times as likely as men to develop the condition. Scleroderma can strike at any age—and there are many children who have localized scleroderma—but the usual age of onset is between 25 and 55 years.