Treating lichen planus

Treating lichen planus
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Treating lichen planusLichen planus is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that results in thickened patches of skin. Lichen planus comes in several forms, but comes under the umbrella of the skin conditions known as lichenoid conditions.

Lichenoid conditions affect about one in every hundred people globally, with the group most affected being those over the age of 40. Half of those with oral lichen planus and about 10 per cent have lichen planus of the nails. Lesions appear on the skin or mucosal surfaces, and often cause an intense itch. (Read more about solving itching here.)

Many cases of lichen planus clear up by themselves after some time (maybe years), but some lichenoid conditions can last for decades. Spontaneous recovery is entirely possible, but unpredictable. Scarring is long-lasting, and can include complete balding of the scalp.

What we know about lichen planus: 

  • Inflammatory cells attack an unknown protein in the skin and mucosa (like the mouth)
  • Genes may play a role in susceptibility
  • It can be brought on by physical or emotional stress
  • It can be brought on by skin injury, like a scratch (called an isomorphic response)
  • Viral infections may trigger an attack
  • Contact allergic dermatitis may cause some attacks in some people
  • Some medications, metals or quinine may cause a lichenoid rash

Treatment of lichen planus

Lichen planus may not require treatment, but topical or systemic treatments may be required. We use:

  • Topical steroids or steroid injections into the lesions
  • Special creams containing prescription-only substances
  • Systemic (blood) injections of prescription-only medications
  • Phototherapy
  • Antibiotics
  • Antifungals
  • New technology and light-based treatments

The treatment that is right for your individual manifestation of a lichenoid condition will be for you to discuss with your dermatologist. Having a proper diagnosis is the first place to start, then trialling treatments that work for you.

Start treating your lichen planus with a specialist dermatologist.
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Please Note:

*With all surgeries or procedures, there are risks. Consult your physician (GP) before undertaking any surgical or cosmetic procedure. Please read the consent forms carefully and be informed about every aspect of your treatment. Surgeries such as liposuction have a mandatory seven-day cooling-off period to give patients adequate time to be sure of their surgery choice. Results may also vary from person to person due to many factors, including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise. Before and after photos are only relevant to the patient in the photo and do not necessarily reflect the results other patients may experience. Ask questions. Our team of dermatologists, doctors and nurses are here to help you with any of your queries. This page is not advice and is intended to be informational only. We endeavour to keep all our information up to date; however, this site is intended as a guide and not a definitive information portal or in any way constitutes medical advice.

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