Lichen Planus

Lichen planus is marked by rashes on the skin and it can occur on any part of the body. This is a chronic type of rash occurring recurrently and the affected person will get small bumps on the skin. There can be dark scaly patches on the skin caused by inflammation and for some adults in can occur on the genitals and even on their mouth. There is no definite cause for its occurrence and this type of rash can be resolved by application of topical creams.

Causes :

What causes lichen planus is not known, but people who have hepatitis C liver infection is likely to get skin rashes. Lichen is the name of a plant that is found on rocks and the term “planus” means flat structure in Latin.

Prolonged use of drugs that contain arsenic or strong chemicals can cause skin rash that resemble lichen planus. People who work in environment that is polluted with chemicals are at risk of getting skin rashes. Drugs that contain quinidine can trigger formation of bumps on extremities of the body. People who have undergone bone marrow transplant have increased chance of getting lichen planus.

Diagnoses :

Your doctor may do skin biopsy by testing the sample lesion from the affected part of the body. Lichen planus is marked by its appearance and can be easily diagnosed by mere physical examination of the body.

Symptoms :

For some the onset of tiny lesions on the skin may be sudden and for others it can be slow process. It is quite common for getting skin rashes repeatedly. This disease is marked by the presence of small patches of lesions measuring 2-4 mm in diameter and is mostly found on the legs and lower portion of the body.

However for some it is seen on the mouth and genital area. These lesions develop due to hyper-pigmentation of the skin and are dark brown or violet in color. In rare cases, it may occur on the scalp causing balding.

Lesions or bumps are found largely on the forearms, inner wrists or on the lower legs and back. It looks like small protruding structures on the skin varying in color from red to dark brown or violet. The lesions can cause irritation and are often chronic (takes long time to resolve) in nature.

Lichen planus is also found on the mucous membranes inside the oral cavity affecting the thin soft mucus lining of the mouth.

Pictures of Lichen Planus :

Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Lichen Planus

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Treatment :

Mild forms of lichen planus do not require any treatment. Topical creams that contain corticosteroid can be applied to control itching and irritation of the skin. Ointments can be applied on the affected area and wrapped with bandage for getting better results. Doctors will give corticosteroid injection or controlling thick itchy lesions. Antihistamines are widely used for managing itchy feeling.

In case of severe infection with lesions, the patient will be given UV therapy combined with oral medicines. Prednisone is given in the form of pills and for some Flagyl is prescribed. However there is no guarantee that the lesions will not recur after you have stopped the medicines. For treating painful lesions on the mouth, your dentist may prescribe lidocaine or special mouthwash.

If the lesions are formed due to the side effect of other medications, then your doctor will give alternative drugs for controlling its growth. Other types of lesions that appear on the skin after taking prolonged medicines will usually wither once you stop taking the drugs.

Lichen planus lesions will take sufficient time (even few years) to vanish and it can recur on the same person after few months. Many doctors will give combined therapy of oral medicines with UV or photo therapy for treating this problem. Retinoids are given for treating lichen planus but the usage is restricted on breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women.

Home remedy is available in the form of cool compresses and soaking in warm water that contains oats. Aloe Vera gel and tea tree oil are also effective in removing the bumps.

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