Lichen ruber planus is a skin disease. The name means roughly red, flat rash. The rash usually sits on the wrists, ankles or lower legs, but can also be spread over the body. Sometimes they can sit in scars or damaged skin. The rash can also be found in the mouth and genital area. Most often, the rash disappears by itself. The disease is harmless and does not infect.
When the rash sits in the mouth, they are called oral lichen planus, or OLP. When the rash sits on the mucous membranes of the genital area they are called the genital lichen.
It is not known what causes the disease. The disease is most common in people between 30 and 60 years.
Symptoms of lichen ruber planus
The rash develops in one or a few weeks.
Lichen ruber planus produces rashes that look like small, raised but flat bumps that blend into larger, angular spots. On light skin, the color may be red, reddish-purple or brownish purple, on darker skin more grayish brown. Rashes on the lower legs can be thick and scaly. The rash itches, usually intensively.
If you itch on the rash so that the skin becomes sore there may be a risk of infection. Then the skin becomes hot, reddened, swollen and sore.
Rashes on the mucous membranes of the mouth and genital area may appear as white lines, mesh patterns or elevations. Sometimes they are seen as sore reddening changes. The mucous membranes become sensitive and it can hurt.
What can I do for myself?
It is good to try to avoid things that make the skin more easily react with itching. For example, it can be stress, excessive heat or strong sun.
It is also important to try not to itch because the rash can get worse if the skin is damaged.
When should I seek care?
Contact a health care provider if you think you have the disease on your skin or genital area. If you have a rash in the genital area, the doctor at the health center can give you a referral to a gynecologist or dermatologist.
Treatment for lichen ruber planus
The disease is usually treated with cortisone, which relieves itching, reduces rashes and speeds up healing.
Rashes on the skin and abdomen are treated with a prescription cortisone cream.
You can get cortisone in the form of oral gel if you have the disease in your mouth.
If the rash is widespread or very troublesome, you can get cortisone tablets for a few weeks. You may receive treatment with other medicines if your symptoms are not alleviated with cortisone or are long-lasting.
The rash disappears
For the most part, the rash disappears by itself within one to two years, but sometimes they can stay longer. After the rash has disappeared, light skin may be brown for a few months and dark skin may become greyish. Sometimes the disease can come back.