The inflammatory skin condition of unknown etiology is characterized by 5Ps: well-defined pruritic, planar, purple, polygonal papules. Lichens planus is self-limiting and resolves within six to 18 months. The disease is not contagious.
Lichen planus on wrist
Typical rounded, purple skin eruptions with thickening of the surrounding skin on a 48-year-old woman’s wrist.
Oral lichen planus
The mouth of a 55-year-old man showing fungal-like white patches on the tongue known as Wickham’s striae. These white lacey streaks can be present on the gingiva, tongue, palate and lips.
Close-up of the skin of a 49-year-old woman with lichen planus. In this case, the rash may be a side effect of the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor drug perindopril, which is used to treat hypertension and heart disease.
Elbow with lichens planus
Although most lichens planus lesions are asymptomatic, some can involve painful erosions or an extremely itchy rash, such as the one pictured on the elbow of this 68 year-old woman. The disease is treated with corticosteroid drugs and antihistamines. Creams are sometimes supplemented with injections in severe cases.
Toenails with lichen planus
The toes of a 50-year-old woman with lichen planus, showing a fungal-like irregularity in the nails.
A chronic mucocutaneous disease, whose cause is unknown, that presents as papules, lesions or rashes on the skin, tongue and oral mucosa. The condition does not involve lichens, but the name refers to the appearance of the affected skin.
Lichens planus affect more woman than men and usually occurs in middle age. Some cases may be of nervous or emotional origin, such as severe stress, or the result of an allergic reaction.