What is lichen planus?

Lichen planus is a rash which mainly affects the area around the mouth and lips, hair, nails, genitals, and occasionally other parts of the body too. There are many different types of lichen planus.

The rash of lichen planus consists of small, red-purple polygonal bumps on the skin, known as papules. These papules have a flat top and are shiny, and can vary in size. The rate at which the rash develops can also vary considerably. The rash can be very itchy, and this itch can interrupt other parts of life too. The rash tends to last 3 – 18 months, but can leave a non-itchy mark where it used to be, which can take years to fade.

Treatment for lichen planus can involve steroids or other forms of immunosuppression to reduce inflammation, and possibly antihistamine too to reduce the itchiness.

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