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Lichen Planus


Lichen planus affects the skin or mucosa (oral and genital). It is often linked to patients with hepatitis B and C, thyroid disease and certain medications for heart disease, high blood pressure and arthritis. Research indicates lichen planus is an autoimmune disease.

In cases where lichen planus is present in the mouth, it appears as lacy white patches inside the cheeks, on the gums, lips or tongue.

When lichen planus presents on the skin it appears as itchy flat-topped, purple, or reddish bumps on the skin or nails. The area may include redness, irritation and hair loss. There are many unusual subtypes of lichen planus, including erosive, genital, hypertrophic, lichen planopilaris, and lichen planus pemphigoides. These may be more difficult to treat and may even cause scarring. Erosive lichen planus also has a slight increased risk of malignancy.

Treatment options include

  • Steroids – oral, topical or injected

  • Topical retinoids

  • Antihistamines (Benadryl)

  • Ultraviolet light therapy

  • Antibiotics

  • Immunomodulatory and biologic therapies

If symptoms are present it is best to be examined by a board-certified dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.