Lichen planus is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that can affect the skin, mucous membranes, nails, and hair. It is characterized by the development of itchy, flat-topped, polygonal, and purplish papules (bumps) that may coalesce into rough, scaly plaques. Here are key points about lichen planus:

1. Skin Involvement:

  • Papules and Plaques: Lichen planus typically presents as small, flat-topped, shiny, reddish-purple bumps on the skin that may form plaques.

2. Mucous Membrane Involvement:

  • Lichen planus can affect mucous membranes in various areas, including the mouth, genitalia, and esophagus.
  • Oral Lichen Planus: Lesions may appear as white, lacy patches or painful sores inside the mouth.
  • Genital Lichen Planus: May cause redness, burning, and erosions on the genital skin.

3. Nail and Hair Involvement:

  • Nail Changes: Lichen planus can cause ridges, grooves, or pitting on the nails.
  • Hair Loss: In some cases, lichen planus may lead to scarring hair loss (cicatricial alopecia).

4. Itching (Pruritus):

  • Itching is a common symptom of lichen planus, and it can be quite intense.

5. Causes:

  • The exact cause of lichen planus is not well understood, but it is believed to involve an abnormal immune response.
  • Certain medications, infections, and underlying medical conditions may trigger or exacerbate lichen planus in some individuals.

6. Diagnosis:

  • Diagnosis is often based on the appearance of the skin or mucous membrane lesions.
  • In some cases, a skin biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

7. Types of Lichen Planus:

  • Classic Lichen Planus: Involves the skin, mucous membranes, nails, or hair.
  • Hypertrophic Lichen Planus: Characterized by thickened, hyperpigmented plaques.
  • Bullous Lichen Planus: Rare subtype with fluid-filled blisters.

8. Treatment:

  • Topical Corticosteroids: Often the first-line treatment for skin involvement.
  • Oral Corticosteroids: May be prescribed for severe or widespread cases.
  • Topical or Systemic Immunosuppressants: In some cases, medications that modulate the immune response may be used.
  • Oral Care: Special oral care may be recommended for those with oral lichen planus.
  • Phototherapy: Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light may be beneficial in some cases.

9. Chronic Condition:

  • Lichen planus is a chronic condition with periods of flare-ups and remission.
  • Treatment aims to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

10. Follow-Up: – Regular follow-up with a dermatologist or healthcare provider is important for monitoring the condition and adjusting treatment as needed.