Lichen planus (pronounced LY-kin-PLAN-us) is a rather common disease that affects the skin, the mouth or both. It affects about one percent of the general population.
What the Disease Is Not
To understand what lichen planus (LP) is, it’s important to note what the diseas is not. Lichen planus is not an infection disease. It is impossible to “catch lichen planus from someone who has it or give it to someone else. The disease is not a form of cancer, it does not appear to be inherited, and it is not related to nutrition.
What It Is
Lichen planus is an inflammatory disease that usually affects the skin, the mouth, or sometimes both. It may affect the genital skin as well. The cause of lichen planus is not known. There are cases of lichen planus-type rashes occurring as allergic reactions to medications for high blood pressure, heart disease and arthritis. In those cases, identifying and stopping the use of the drug helps clear up the condition within a few weeks. Some people with lichen planus can also have hepatitis C and your dermatologist may want to chec you for this. Lichen planus affects men and women equally, and occurs most often in middle aged adults.