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Common Skin Rashes

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How Is Granuloma Annulare Diagnosed?

The condition is diagnosed by a doctor who may use a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

How Is Granuloma Annulare Treated?

Treatment of granuloma annulare often is not necessary, except for cosmetic reasons. In some cases, steroid creams or ointments are used to help the bumps disappear. Some doctors may decide to freeze the lesions with liquid nitrogen or to inject steroids directly into the rings of bumps. Ultraviolet light therapy or oral drugs can be used in severe cases.

Lichen Planus and Your Skin

Lichen planus is a common skin disorder that produces shiny, flat-topped bumps that often have an angular shape and a reddish-purplish color. Lichen planus can occur anywhere on the skin but is often found on the insides of the wrists and ankles, the lower legs, the back, and the neck. Some people have lichen planus inside their mouth, genital region, hair, and nails. Thick collections of bumps may occur, especially on the shins.

Lichen planus occurs most often in adults aged 30 to 70. It is not common in very young or elderly people.

What Causes Lichen Planus?

In most cases, the cause of lichen planus is not known. However, lichen planus is linked to hepatitis C infection in some cases.

Medications to treat high blood pressure, heart disease, and arthritis can cause lichen planus-type rashes that are allergic reactions to those drugs. Lichen planus is not contagious.

What Are the Symptoms of Lichen Planus?

Signs and symptoms of the condition include shiny, flat-topped bumps that are purple or a reddish-purplish color. When it appears on the scalp, lichen planus may cause hair loss. Lichen planus of the nails can cause brittle or split nails.

How Is Lichen Planus Diagnosed?

A doctor can diagnose lichen planus by its distinctive appearance or with the use of a skin biopsy. In a skin biopsy, a small bit of skin is taken from the affected area and is sent to a lab for testing.

How Is Lichen Planus Treated?

Although lichen planus cannot be cured, its symptoms can be treated with anti-itch products such as antihistamines (for example, Benadryl, or diphenhydramine). If lichen planus affects only a small part of the body, medicated cream can be applied to the affected area. Drugs such as steroid injections, prednisone, other drugs to suppress the immune system, or retinoids may be prescribed in more severe cases.

Another treatment for lichen planus is light therapy. Talk to your doctor about which treatment is right for you.

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