Many individuals develop lichen planus. It is a condition that develops on one or several parts of the body. It can manifest on the skin or within the mouth. Oftentimes, it can develop in both areas.
It is important to note that lichen planus can even change the appearance of the toenails and fingernails. In addition, it can manifest on the scalp or genitals. Luckily, the condition is not contagious.
What are the indications?
If lichen planus develops on the skin, it results to lumps that are firm, shiny and reddish or purple in color. Oftentimes, the bumps have small-sized white lines that run through them which are called Wickham’s striae.
Many individuals develop a few bumps that can manifest on various parts of the body. The usual spots for these bumps include the lower back, wrists and ankles but can occur anywhere on the skin including the genitals. If an individual develops lichen planus on the skin, the following can be observed:
- Dense patches of scaly, rough skin – if these bumps appear in the same place, dense patches of scaly, rough skin forms. These develop over time and quite common on the shins and around the ankles.
- Blisters can develop but considered rare
- Pain particularly on the genitals – the skin can be bright red and raw. Over time, open sores can manifest that makes sexual activity painful or impossible.
Once lichen planus develops within the mouth, it occurs in the interior of the cheeks as well as the lips, tongue and gums. If inside the mouth, the following occur:
- Redness and swelling
- Areas of small-sized white dots and lines that appear like lace
- Peeling on the gums
- Painful sores
When diagnosing lichen planus, the doctor will simply check the skin, nails and mouth. One way to confirm a diagnosis is by assessing a skin sample in the laboratory. Oftentimes, a blood test is also required to rule out other conditions.
Remember that there is no available cure for lichen planus since it often settles on its own. If the symptoms become bothersome, the treatment aims on providing relief and hasten the healing. The commonly used treatment for the skin include the following:
- Antihistamines to alleviate the itchiness
- Corticosteroids such as prednisone can be used if the condition lasts for an extended period or the individual has several bumps or painful sores.
- Topical corticosteroids in ointment or cream form are used to minimize the swelling and redness