Lichen planus is a condition that causes inflammation of the skin and the mucous membranes. The appearance is purplish in color, itchy and has even-topped lumps. Lichen planus produces lace-like white patches and painful sores that can be found in the mouth, vagina as well as other areas of the body that are covered by mucous membrane.
Lichen planus occurs when the immune system of the body attacks the cells of the skin or the mucous membranes. If lichen planus cause severe itching and pain, there is a need for medications in order to suppress the immune system.
Symptoms of lichen planus
Signs and symptoms of lichen planus usually depends on the areas that are affected by the condition.
- A purplish, flat-topped bump can be found in the inner forearm, wrist and ankles but can also develop in the external genitals.
- Painful ulcers can be found in the mouth and vagina
- Blisters that breaks and formation of scabs or crusts
- Discoloration of the scalp and hair loss
- White spots or patches can be found in the mouth, inside the cheek or on the gums as well as the lips and tongue.
- Nail loss and damage
Certain diseases and medical conditions along with other factors can cause lichen planus such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C infections, flu vaccine, pigments like chemical and metals, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Medications for heart disease, high blood pressure or arthritis can also cause lichen planus. Any individual can develop lichen planus but middle-aged adults are more susceptible to develop these infections.
Treatment and home remedies
- If there is a presence of oral rash caused by lichen planus, the individual should avoid eating crunchy foods, zesty foods and all products made out of tomatoes. Drink only decaffeinated drinks.
- Use colloidal oatmeal while soaking in a warm bath. This should be done for several days to help minimize the itchiness caused by lichen planus. By enrolling in a first aid class, you can effective manage this condition.
- Apply a cold compress on the affected areas to make the rash cool and minimize the itchiness.
- Apply topical ointments such as hydrocortisone cream that contain 1 percent hydrocortisone since this helps in keeping the rash moist and also reduce the itchiness.
- Some over-the-counter medications such as Benadryl can help in reducing severe itchiness caused by lichen planus.
- Flossing and brushing the teeth can help in reducing the signs and symptoms caused by lichen planus.
Other treatment options for infections caused by lichen planus include a sulfur-based bath, taking vitamin supplements, eating fruits and vegetables, taking cod liver oil supplements which is a source of Vitamins A and D as well as using topical and oral herbal medications such as aloe vera gel, lavender and tea tree oil.