Lichen planus is a chronic skin rash that mainly occurs around the mouth, wrist, ankles, and genitals. The inflammation of the skin and mucous membrane results in the formation of rashes. The rashes due to Lichen planus can extremely itchy which makes the skin rough. Lichen planus is very rare in children and older adults. It is most common in middle-aged people. Lichen planus is not contagious, but can become uncomfortable for the patient diagnosed with it. Only 1% of the population is expected to get affected by Lichen planus.
Causes of Lichen planus
The exact cause of Lichen planus is not known. However, it is possible that Lichen planus is an autoimmune disease that destroys the mucous membrane cells in the body. Sometimes, Lichen planus can occur as a reaction to certain medicines such as anti-inflammatory drugs and beta-blockers. Exposure of skin to some chemicals can also cause Lichen planus. The risk of developing Lichen planus increases in people who have diabetes, hepatitis C or hypertension. Allergens such as gold, diuretics, and iodide can also cause Lichen planus.
The symptoms of lichen planus depends on the area where they appear. The symptoms of lichen planus can appear suddenly and may be long-lasting. The common symptoms of lichen planus may include:
Diagnosis of Lichen planus
- Itching and irritation at the site of the affected area
- Purple colored blisters on the skin and around genitals
- Appearance of white streaks around cheeks, gums, tongue
- Dry mouth and blistering of the gums
- Loss of original skin color
There are no such diagnostic tests
available for Lichen planus. You can consult a dermatologist if the rashes have not healed within a week. He may perform a punch biopsy test to extract deep layers of the affected skin. The sample taken is examined under the microscope to check for possible causes of Lichen planus. Sometimes a dermatologist
may order a blood test
to check for the presence of any underlying infection.
There is no permanent cure available for the Lichen planus. However, medicinal treatment can help in relieving symptoms and preventing the further growth of infection. The treatment of Lichen planus may include:
- Antihistamines and corticosteroids can help in reducing the inflammation and itching
- Applying non steroidal creams directly over the affected area
- Vitamin A supplements to strengthen the immune system
- Using ultraviolet light therapy to treat Lichen planus
- Applying cool packs on the rash to get relief from the burning sensation
- Avoid scratching the affected area
- Using antibacterial soap for cleaning the affected area
These are all temporary treatment and it is possible that symptoms of Lichen planus will appear again if treatment is discontinued.
Complications of Lichen planus
If Lichen planus is left untreated, it may result in permanent brown and grey marks on the skin
. Lichen planus developed around your genitals can cause discomfort and pain during sex. Frequent relapsing of Lichen planus may lead to the development of skin cancer.