What is it?

ichen planus is a skin rash triggered by the immune system. It’s not known why the immune response occurs. There may be several contributing factors, and each case is different. Potential causes includes:
- viral infections
- allergens
- stress
- genetics
Sometimes lichen planus occurs along with autoimmune disorders. While it may be uncomfortable, in most cases lichen planus is not a serious condition. It’s also not contagious.

59 Alikes with Lichen Planus (LP)

Learn from others
who are experiencing
Lichen Planus (LP).

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of lichen planus may include the following:
- Purplish-colored lesions or bumps with flat tops on your skin or genitals
- Lesions that develop and spread over the body over the course of several weeks or a few months
- Itching at the site of the rash
- Lacy-white lesions in the mouth, which may be painful or cause a burning sensation
- Blisters, which burst and become scabby
- Thin white lines over the rash

The most common type of lichen planus affects the skin, but it can also affect the oral cavity (oral lichen planus), genitalia (penile or vulvar lichen planus), scalp (lichen planopilaris), nails, or esophagus.


Your primary care doctor or dermatologist may be able to tell that you have lichen planus simply by looking at your rash. To confirm the diagnosis, you may need further tests.
Tests could include a biopsy, which means taking a small sample of your skin cells to view under a microscope, or an allergy test to find out if you’re having an allergic reaction. If your doctor suspects the underlying cause is an infection, you may need to have a test for hepatitis C.


For mild cases of lichen planus, which usually recovers in weeks or months, you may not need any treatment. If the symptoms are uncomfortable or severe, your doctor can prescribe medication.
There is no cure for lichen planus, but medications that treat the symptoms are helpful and some may even be able to target a possible underlying cause. Medications often prescribed include:
- Retinoids, which are related to vitamin A and are taken topically or orally
- Corticosteroids reduce inflammation and can be topical, oral, or given as an injection
- Antihistamines reduce inflammation and may be particularly helpful if your rash is triggered by an allergen
- Nonsteroidal creams are applied topically and can suppress your immune system and help clear up the rash
- Light therapy treats lichen planus with ultraviolet light

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

Learn more about our editorial process for content accuracy.

Alike Wisdom

Instantly get answers to medical questions with our AI, built from the collective wisdom of our community facing similar experiences

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Find people who are
experiencing a similar
medical reality

100% Free