Lichen planus (LP) is an inflammatory skin condition that affects the skin and sometimes mucous membranes such as the mouth and genitals. It can also affect the nails and scalp, potentially leading to scarring and hair loss.
Many cases are without a trigger, and others may be triggered by:
- Reaction to medication, often high blood pressure, heart disease and arthritis medications
- Virus, including Hepatitis C (HCV), HIV and other viruses
If there are no triggers identified, the condition may go away by itself in months or years.Unfortunately, some cases go on for many years.
Understanding Lichen Planus
Clinical appearance is usually enough to diagnose lichen planus. The skin can look like reddish-purple or violet-colored, flat-topped bumps that may be itchy. Some may have a white lacy look, which is called Wickham’s Striae. Typical areas where this condition is seen include wrists and ankles, but it may show anywhere over the body, mouth, nails and scalp.
Anyone can develop lichen planus, but it is often seen in middle-aged adults. Oral lichen planus most often affects middle-aged women.
Oral LP has an increased risk of oral cancer, so routine screenings are recommended.
There is no cure for LP, but it may be successfully controlled with a treatment plan. Our board-certified dermatologists will work with you to develop a treatment plan that may include some of the following options:
- Identifying a trigger and avoiding skin trauma
- Corticosteroids, topical, intralesional or systemic
- Topical ointments and anti-itch products
- Immune modulators
- Light therapy
When it comes to managing your skin’s health, it is important to choose an experienced and knowledgeable specialist. To find out more about treating lichen planus, schedule an appointment to meet with one of our board-certified dermatologists in Grosse Pointe by calling our office at 313-884-5100.