What is lichen planus?

Updated: Feb 24, 2020
  • Author: Tsu-Yi Chuang, MD, MPH, FAAD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

Lichen planus is a cell-mediated immune response of unknown origin. It may be found with other diseases of altered immunity, such as ulcerative colitis, alopecia areata, vitiligo, dermatomyositis, morphea, lichen sclerosis, and myasthenia gravis. A rare type of lichen planus, familial bullous lichen planus, could be gene-related. It may be triggered by diuretics and antimalarials, metal fillings (causing oral lichen planus), stress, and infection. Lichen planus (see the image below) has been found to be associated with hepatitis C virus infection. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

Close-up view of lichen planus. Close-up view of lichen planus.

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