Lichen planus is a chronic condition that can cause swelling and irritation in the skin, hair, nails and mucous membranes. On the skin, lichen planus usually appears as purplish, itchy, flat bumps that develop over several weeks.
Lichen planus occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks cells of the skin or mucous membranes. On skin, lichen planus appears as purplish, itchy, flat-topped bumps. On mucous membranes, such as in the mouth, it forms lacy white patches, sometimes with painful sores. Lichen planus can go away on its own. If symptoms are bothersome, topical steriods are usually the first line of treatment. Systemic treatments are utilized for people whose condition is more widespread or severe.
Lichen planus typically develops in middle-aged adults with oral or genital involvement occurring in 60-70% of patients.