Lichen Planus


Lichen planus is a condition characterized by inflammation of the skin, hair, nails, mouth, and genitals. Skin manifestations typically present as itchy, flat, purple bumps that emerge gradually over a few weeks. In the oral and genital mucosa, lichen planus manifests as lacy white patches, occasionally accompanied by painful sores.

In many cases, it spontaneously resolves without intervention, but in some cases, treatment is necessary to relieve associated symptoms, including itchiness.


Lichen planus symptoms differ according on the body area afflicted. While lichen planus itself is not painful, scratching the rash can lead to skin breakage, increasing the risk of infection and subsequent discomfort.

Common symptoms include:

  • Small, raised dots may appear on the skin, including the genital area, starting at the size of a pin tip, and potentially expanding to the width of a pencil. These dots might progress into sores over time.
  • Shiny, flat, purple lumps, usually on the wrists, ankles, or inner forearms.
  • Rashes along the lines where skin has been scratched.
  • Changes in the color, cracking, splitting, stop growing, or loss of nails may occur.
  • Tiny white dots may emerge on the inner skin of the cheeks, tongue, or lips.
  • Genital or oral sores that cause pain.
  • Hair loss, in rare cases.
  • Itchiness.

Medical attention is necessary if there are unexplained tiny bumps or a rash on the skin or experience symptoms related to lichen planus in the mouth, genitals, scalp, or nails. Or if one notices that the rash endures longer than anticipated, or observe signs of infection such as red, purple, gray, or white skin with irritation and swelling.

If any of the signs and symptoms persist, consult a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment. Seeking a timely and accurate diagnosis is crucial as various skin and mucous membrane conditions can lead to sores and pain.


Although the definite cause of lichen planus remains unknown, it is linked to the immune system targeting skin or mucous membrane cells. If a person experience a flare-up of lichen planus, it may be related to one or more of factors.

Lichen planus can be triggered by various factors, including hepatitis C infection, vaccines, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), specific medications used for arthritis, heart disease, or high blood pressure, as well as exposure to certain chemicals, metals, or pigments.

Risk factors

Lichen planus can affect anyone. However, studies indicate that women may experience lichen planus twice as frequently as men. If lichen planus manifests on the skin, there is a 50% to 75% increased likelihood of its presence in the oral cavity as well. Individuals between 30 and 60 years old are also more susceptible.