This patient information and photograph on Lichen Planus is provided by John L. Meisenheimer, M.D. a board certified Dermatologist and skin care specialist based in Orlando, Florida. This information is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice or treatment of a dermatologist or other physician.
What is it? Lichen planus is a peculiar disorder of the skin. It can occur at any age, but it is
seen more often in adults. Typically it appears as very itchy, flat, pink to violaceous bumps that can occur anywhere on the skin. Wrists and ankles are the most common areas of involvement but the mouth and nails can also be involved.
What causes it? Lichen Planus is an inflammatory disease of the skin, but the exact cause remains unknown. There have been a number of theories proposed regarding its cause, but the most likely is a hypersensitivity response of the skin to some unknown source.
Is it dangerous? For the typical healthy person lichen planus is a harmless disorder. It is not related to cancer and it does not involve internal organs.
Can it be cured? Lichen planus usually lasts for years. Treatment often improves lichen
planus and helps to relieve itching. After the eruption has cleared recurrences will be common.
Will it spread? New areas of involvement may continue to form. Discoloration following an outbreak can persist for months to years. Treatment may help to prevent or control further spreading.
Is it contagious? Lichen planus is not contagious and you can not "catch it" from anyone.