Lupus vulgaris is an extremely common type of cutaneous tuberculosis. This condition or disease is usually observed in individuals who are sensitized towards mycobacterium tuberculosis. Typically this condition is marked by the presence of a particular and common lesion which is soft and elastic tubercle. This lesion may be yellow or the brownish violet in color and may be translucent to a certain extent. Such a tubercle may either exist alone or may be a part of a group consisting of eight or ten such lesions.
The lesion in lupus vulgaris is chronic and may gradually enlarge. After it attains a certain size it may continue to persist in the same condition indefinitely and may eventually resolve after leaving a cicatrix which is depressed. In many cases superficial ulceration is seen to occur and then the lesion is seen to be covered with a crust or scab which is darkish. Once the crust or scab is removed the ulceration can be seen.
In many cases of lupus vulgaris each time the crust is removed fresh crust is formed on the ulceration and this can become quite extensive. In some cases infiltration can be seen to occur underneath the tubercles and new connective tissue can be seen. This gives rise to a protuberant or elevated mass and this is called hypertrophic lupus. In some cases group of pustules are seen and considerable amount of ulceration can be observed.
Lupus vulgaris may sometimes be confused with syphilis but in syphilis the lesions progress faster and the ulcers have sharper margins as compared to those in lupus. Likewise there is a greater amount of discharge in syphilis and a peculiar kind of odor may also be observed in syphilis. Arsenic has been used as a cure for lupus vulgaris.
Likewise in some cases iodide of potassium along with mercury has been used to great benefit. In many cases once the lesion attains moderate size and is found to be conveniently located it can be treated by excising it. Arsenic treatment should however be undertaken only under the guidance of an able professional.