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Lichen planus, causes, symptoms and treatments

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What is it?lichen

Lichen planus is a common skin problem. Inflammation of the skin and mucous membranes happens in this medical condition.

Lichen planus on the skin results in some bumps which are purplish in color and flat topped. They’re often itchy. They may appear in the mouth, vagina and other body parts which are covered by a mucous membrane. Lichen planus results in lacy white patches. Sometimes it may also produce sores that are painful.

Lichen planus problem happens when the immune system attacks cells of your skin or mucous membranes mistakenly. It is not a contentious problem stop it is possible to manage typical and mild Lichen planus problems right at home without the need of any medical treatment. But if it results in pain or lots of teaching, it may be a good idea to see your doctor.

Symptoms of lichen planus

The symptoms of this medical condition may vary based on the affected area. The normal signs and symptoms include

  • Flat topped and purplish bumps. They generally show up on the inner forearm, wrist or ankle and also on the external genitals.
  • Itching
  • Painful oral or vaginal ulcers
  • Sometimes they break and form crusts or scabs.
  • Hair loss and discoloration of the scalp
  • White spots or patches in the mouth
  • Nail loss and damage

 Causes of lichen planus

The actual causes of lichen planus and not known. Research and evidence suggest that inflammation causes the lesions. Some diseases and medical conditions along with some other factors may also work as triggers causing lichen planus.

The most likely triggers of this medical problem are-

  • Hepatitis C infection
  • Flu vaccine
  • Hepatitis B vaccine
  • Some chemicals, pigments and metals
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve, others)
  • Some medicines used in case of heart disease, arthritis and high blood pressure

Tests and diagnosis

A physical examination by the dermatologist will help in diagnosis of lichen planus. The following tests are done to conform the attack of this medical condition-


Your doctor will remove a small issue of your skin and will examine under a microscope to find out the characteristic cell patterns of lichen planus.

Hepatitis C test

A simple of blood will be taken to test in the laboratory to find out if you have hepatitis C which may trigger lichen planus.

Allergy tests

You may need to undergo some allergy tests to find out if the substances you are exposed to regularly are causing the allergic reactions which may trigger the condition.

Treatments and medicines

After some time lichen planus automatically clears. However, it may be resistant and may recur. Medicines and treatments can help you to get relief from itching. They can also promote healing.


Corticosteroids can help you by reducing inflammation. There are some side-effects and they vary based on the form of corticosteroids- injection, pill or ointment. They are good for you if you take them as directed and use them for a short-term. Some common side effects are skin problems like burning, thinning or reddening of the skin. If you take it orally or in the form of an injection, then you may see side-effects like high blood pressure, increase in blood glucose level and osteoporosis.


You can use them topically or take orally. They are effective against lichen planus but they also have side-effects in the form of troublesome skin irritations like severe dryness, peeling and redness. Pregnant women should not take oral retinoids because it may harm unborn babies.

Ointments and non-steroidal creams tacrolimus (Protopic) and pimecrolimus (Elidel) and antihistamine are also effective against lichen planus.


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