Lichen Planus (LP)

What is Lichen Planus (LP)?

Lichen Planus is a common skin condition characterized by an itchy, non-infectious rash. The rash typically appears as flat-topped, purplish bumps that may form a network-like pattern. It may occur anywhere on the skin, but is most common on the wrists, back, and lower legs. The affected area may also feel scaly, dry, or raised. Lichen Planus is not related to any other diseases, and usually resolves on its own over time; however, symptoms can sometimes last for several years.

Symptoms of Lichen Planus

The most common symptoms of Lichen Planus are:

  • Pruritus (itchy skin)
  • Raised, purplish bumps on the skin
  • Scaly, dry patches
  • Reddish-purple lesions on the tongue, mouth, or inside the cheeks
  • Thinning or loss of hair in affected areas

Causes of Lichen Planus

The exact cause of Lichen Planus is unknown. Most doctors believe the condition is due to an allergic reaction or an immune system disorder. Certain drugs, such as antibiotics, painkillers, and antimalarial medications, can trigger Lichen Planus in some people. In rare cases, exposure to certain substances (like certain dyes, metals, and resins) have been linked to the condition.

Treatment of Lichen Planus

The treatment of Lichen Planus depends on the severity of the condition. Mild cases may only require topical steroids or antihistamines. More severe cases may require oral corticosteroids or other immune-suppressing drugs.

In some cases, topical creams or ointments may be used to relieve itching and reduce inflammation. Light therapy, or phototherapy, has also been found to be beneficial for some people.

If the Lichen Planus is caused by an allergic reaction to a certain substance, avoiding that substance may be enough to prevent it from returning.