Lichen planus is an inflammation that occurs in the skin, nails, or mucous membranes (mucosa) due to abnormalities in the immune system. This condition is not as contagious as an infection, but people of all ages can experience it.
On the skin, lichen planus is characterized by the presence of scaly skin and rashes or patches of purplish red. The appearance of these patches can be accompanied by itching, but it can also not. Meanwhile, in mucous areas, such as the mouth or vagi**na, lichen planus is characterized by the appearance of white patches that sometimes feel pain.
As mentioned at the beginning, lichen planus is not an infectious disease. This disease most often occurs in people aged 30-60 years. However, adolescents and children can also be affected by lichen planus.
Lichen Planus Symptoms
Symptoms and signs of LP vary depending on which area is affected. Typical signs and symptoms, according to the location of the LP on the body area:
Cutaneous LP or skin LP..
The shape of LP lesions on the skin in the form of purplish red rashes, there are small bumps or bumps on the skin rash, shiny, sometimes there are small white stripes that spread through it. The most frequent locations of the skin LP are the inner arm, wrist, ankle, but it can appear on any part of the skin, including the genital skin. On the feet, the color of the lesion is somewhat darker. If the lesion continues to appear in the same place, then the skin will look thicker, rougher, and scaly.
LP lesions can itch with various intensities, itching is felt especially in lesions that are already thickened and scaly. Pain can be felt especially LP lesions on the genital skin that can cause pain during se**xual inter**course. LP skin lesions develop more and more over time, generally after a week or more and spread maximum within 2–16 weeks.
LP skin lesions can develop into blisters that rupture and form scabs or crusts. LP skin lesions can disappear within 6–18 months, but thickened and scaly LP skin lesions take longer. When the lesion is gone, new lesions may appear again in the same place or in other parts of the skin.
Oral LP or mouth LP.
LP lesions on the mouth can be small white patches, there are lace-like lines on the patches. Lesions can be as painless, itchy, or painful as burning. The location of the mouth LP is the mucous membranes (mucosa) of the cheeks, tongue of the lips, and gums. Lesions on the gums can cause flaky gums, redness, swelling, and pain.
Lesions in the form of indentions on the nails, split or thinning nails, and can cause the nails to detach or lose the nails. This nail loss can be temporary or permanent. LP on the nails usually only appears on a few nails, but in rare cases can occur on all fingernails or feet.
Lichen Planopilaris or LP of the scalp.
LP on the scalp is rare, but lesions can appear in the form of redness, irritation, hair loss causing thinning of the hair, and changes in scalp color.
Lichen Planus Causes
The cause of lichen planus is not yet known. It is strongly suspected that this disease occurs due to problems in the work of the immune system.
The immune system works to protect the body from disease. In people who have autoimmune disorders, the immune system mistakenly considers proteins in the skin or mucosa to be harmful foreign substances. So, the body also attacks the protein and causes various symptoms of the skin.
Another possibility, there are several things that can be a trigger for the emergence of this disease. Among them are:
- Use of some medicines such as diuretic drugs (high blood pressure and heart disease drugs) or pain medication,
- Hepatitis C infection,
- Metal fillings on teeth that can hoard moss planus in the mouth, and
- Flu vaccine.