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Lichen Planus

About Lichen Planus :

Lichen planus (LIE-kun PLAY-nus) is an a chronic recurrent inflammatory disorder that can affect the skin, hair, nails and mucous membranes. On the skin, it appears as purplish, often itchy, flat-topped bumps, developing over several weeks. In the mouth, vagina and other areas covered by a mucous membrane, lichen planus forms lacy white patches, sometimes with painful sores.

Causes :

​Lichen planus occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks cells of the skin or mucous membranes. Exact Reason for this phenomenon's unknown.

Certain factors, which may trigger lichen planus are

  • Hepatitis C infection

  • Flu vaccine

  • Certain pigments, chemicals and metals

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

  • Certain medications for heart disease, high blood pressure or arthritis

Presentation :

  • Mostly found in Middle aged people.

The signs and symptoms of lichen planus vary depending on the areas affected. Typical signs and symptoms include:

  • Purplish, flat-topped bumps, most often on the inner forearm, wrist or ankle, but sometimes on the external genitals.

  • Lesions that develop and spread over the body during weeks or a few months

  • Itching at the site

  • Blisters that may break to form scabs or crusts

  • Lacy white patches in the mouth — inside the cheeks or on the gums, lips or tongue which may be painful or cause a burning sensation.

  • Thin white lines over the rash.

Rarely,it may present as

  • Painful oral or vaginal ulcers

  • Hair loss and scalp discoloration

  • Nail damage or loss


Complications :

Difficult to treat if it develops on your vagina or vulva. This can lead to pain, scarring, and discomfort during sex. 

Developing lichen planus can also increase your risk of squamous cell carcinoma.

Tips for managing Lichen Planus

You may be able to stop lichen planus from getting worse by doing the following:


  • Limit stress. 

  • Try not to scratch. Covering the rash with a bandage can help. 

  • Calm the itch. Applying a cool cloth or using an oatmeal bath treatment can help. 

  • Try not to injure your skin. A skin injury can cause an outbreak where the skin was injured. 



If you have lichen planus in your mouth, you may have a higher risk of getting cancer in your mouth (oral cancer). Things you can do to reduce that risk: 

  • Stop smoking, chewing tobacco, and drinking alcohol.

  • Get a screening for oral cancer every 6 to 12 months from your dermatologist.

  • Brush twice a day.

  • Floss daily.

  • Stop consuming foods and beverages that can worsen lichen planus such as spicy foods, citrus fruits and juices (such as oranges and grapefruits), tomatoes and foods made with tomatoes (such as salsa, pasta sauces, and ketchup), snacks that are crispy and salty (such as corn chips), drinks that contain caffeine (such as coffee, tea, and cola).


Scalp and nails

If you have hair loss or nail problems, you should see a dermatologist. Without treatment, these may not regrow.

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