Lichen Planus

Find out more about this common skin condition and explore your treatment options at Henry Ford Dermatology.

If your doctor diagnoses you with lichen planus, it’s natural to have questions. Many people have never heard of this condition.

It’s one of the skin conditions we commonly see. Our dermatologists have the tools to successfully treat lichen planus.

What is lichen planus?

We don’t know exactly what causes lichen planus. It isn’t a contagious condition.

This inflammatory disorder most often affects middle-aged adults and sometimes occurs with hepatitis C and other diseases. A subtype of lichen planus can result from allergic reactions to certain medications used to treat heart disease, high blood pressure, and arthritis.

What are the symptoms of lichen planus?

You may have reddish-purple, flat bumps on your skin. These bumps may be itchy. They can appear anywhere on the body, but they usually appear around the wrists and ankles.

Other locations and symptoms include:

  • Fingernails/toenails -- nail ridges and grooves, nail thinning and splitting, and nail loss
  • Genitals -- sores and red areas
  • Mouth -- smooth white or red patches on the tongue, inner cheek, or gums
  • Scalp -- redness and hair loss

What are my treatment options for lichen planus?

Our skin doctors can prescribe a number of treatments, including:

  • Antihistamines to reduce itchiness
  • Corticosteroid creams
  • Oral corticosteroids or cyclosporine for more severe cases
  • Phototherapy treatment
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