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Lichen Planus

Lichen planus is an uncommon, recurrent skin condition that causes itchy, shiny reddish purple spots on the skin; gray-white spots in the mouth; glassy bright red spots on the vulva (the area around the vagina); and small patchy areas of hair loss (atrophic cicatricial alopecia).

The symptoms of lichen planus may begin abruptly or gradually. The initial occurrence may persist for weeks or months, and recurrences can continue over many years.

Lichen planus is not contagious. Although its exact cause is not known, it appears more often during stress, fatigue, or exposure to medicines or chemicals. It affects women more often than men.

Treatment of lichen planus focuses on relieving itching, such as with medicated creams. Severe cases may require prescription medicines taken by mouth or light treatment.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Current as of March 12, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.