6 Ways to Get Rid of Lichen Planus
May 7, 2022 by VitalSkin Dermatology
A common disease in middle-aged adults, lichen planus causes shiny, firm bumps to form on the skin and sometimes in the mouth. Thin white lines, known as Wickham’s striae, can develop between these bumps. While there is no known cure for the condition, there are effective methods out there for alleviating the symptoms of this condition. What can provide relief to the symptoms of lichen planus? Let’s walk through some of the most popular options available today. With this information in hand, you can then contact a professional dermatologist to develop a comprehensive treatment plan.
As a first step, consulting with a dermatologist to determine the type and extent of lichen planus is important. Your dermatologist will run a series of diagnostics to determine whether oral lichen planus is present and whether or not you have any secondary infections:
- Biopsy: Your dermatologist may take a small tissue sample from one or more lesions in your mouth. These will be examined under a microscope to determine whether oral lichen planus is present. You may also get more specialized microscopic tests that can spot immune system proteins commonly associated with oral lichen planus.
- Cultures: Your dermatologist may also use a cotton swab to take a sample from the interior of your mouth. That sample will then be examined under a microscope to assess for the presence of a secondary fungal, bacterial or viral infection.
- Blood tests: In some cases, your doctor may recommend additional blood testing to test for conditions such as hepatitis C or and lupus, which can look similar to oral lichen planus.
OTC antihistamines, which typically address symptoms related to allergies, can help alleviate the frustrating itching that goes along with lichen planus, oftentimes. You can purchase an antihistamine at your local drug store. Take it according to the recommendations on the package. Any loratadine, cetirizine or diphenhydramine product should do the trick. Your dermatologist can also make recommendations.
These anti-inflammatory preparations can be applied directly to the skin and come in OTC and prescription varieties. When applied to affected areas, topical corticosteroids can relieve both swelling and redness associated with lichen planus. OTC products to consider include hydrocortisone cream; your dermatologist can prescribe prescription-grade options that will do a much more comprehensive job, however.
Some patients may need oral corticosteroids or injections of corticosteroids to address serious cases of lichen planus. These treatments are necessary in chronic cases in which patients experience long-term effects, painful sores and large-spread outbreaks.
PUVA therapy involves the application of light to the skin. This can help clear the skin of outbreaks and provide some relief from symptoms. To discuss whether PUVA is right for your lichen planus, consult with your dermatologist and discuss your options.
Retinoic acid can be applied directly to the skin to provide relief, as prescribed by your dermatologist. In some cases, a dermatologist may prescribe a pill form of retinoic acid, especially in cases where lichen planus has formed inside the mouth.
There is relief out there for individuals experiencing lichen planus. The best approach is to contact a professional dermatologist and work in consultation with them to develop a treatment plan. Your dermatologist can walk you through your treatment options and review possible side effects with you. To schedule a consultation, get in touch with our professional dermatologists right away.