Lichen planus is a condition that involves a bumpy rash developing on the skin. The rash typically forms on the wrist, leg, torso or genitals, but may occur anywhere. A lesion may appear alone or in a group and sometimes becomes painful. It can produce patches of thickened, rough skin that may be itchy. Lichen planus is usually a shiny, reddish-purple color. It is not always known what causes lichen planus, but an allergic reaction or immune system response is often suspected.
Mild cases of lichen planus that do not cause discomfort generally do not require any treatment. For moderate to severe cases, treatment typically involves the use of antihistamines, corticosteroids, oral or topical retinoids or ultraviolet light therapy. Some patients may also benefit from medication that will suppress the immune system.
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