is lichen planus?
Lichen planus is a common skin disease. The cause
of lichen planus is
not exactly known but it may be due to activation
of the immune system
provoked by a drug or viral infection. It may
affect any area of the
skin and mucosa.
Lichen planus in its most characteristic form
presents with very itchy,
flat-topped, skin-coloured to purple papules. They
range in size from a
few millimeters to several centimeters. They can
be clustered or
widespread. Typically they are crossed with fine
white lines called
'Wickham's striae'. Although they can arise
anywhere on the skin they
are most often seen on the wrists and ankles.
Other specific areas are
the lower back, the mouth and the penis.
In most cases of lichen planus of the skin the
dermatologist is able to diagnose lichen planus
tests. When in doubt the doctor will perform a
skin biopsy procedure.
Laboratory tests on viral infections (hepatitis)
may be performed.
Lichen planus often responds well to topical
steroids. In severe cases
systemic steroids such as prednisolon can be
treatments include phototherapy and acitretin. In
the majority of cases
lichen planus will fade away in. This process,
however, can take months
to be completed.