Has a certain part of your skin turned dark of late? Have you developed rashes, blisters, and redness on the skin along with itching? If yes, you might be suffering from lichen planus. Lichen planus is one of the most common forms of chronic skin condition that people experience. And, if you are wondering what exactly lichen planus is and how can you manage it with home remedies, think no further. Read on to learn all about it.
What is Lichen Planus?
Let us first understand the meaning of the Lichen Planus in parts.
The word Lichen comes from the plant Lichen which grows on the rocks and bark of the trees in the form of plaques and Planus meaning ‘flat’.
So, Lichen Planus is a chronic recurring inflammatory skin disease. It is non-infectious and is characterized by small raised lesions over the skin with a flat top, which gradually merges to form rough thickened plaques.
Lesions of this skin condition are mostly pinkish, purplish which may later turn black. They may cause a variable amount of itching that may result in discomfort.
The lesions of lichen planus may appear anywhere on the body, but, most commonly affected areas of the body are skin, scalp, genitals, mouth, and nails. It, commonly, affected females more as compared to male.
Causes of Lichen Planus:
There is as such no specific cause of lichen planus. It is considered to be an immunologically mediated condition. Certain triggering factors are found to be responsible for the onset or relapse of Lichen Planus. Some of them are listed below.
- Medicines: Conventional medications, such as NSAIDs, antibiotics, etc.
- Chemicals: Arsenic, gold, and Bismuth
- Stress: Stress is known to be the most common triggering factor for the onset of lichen planus.
- Genetic Link: The chances of the development of lichen planus are high if any of your family members happen to suffer from lichen planus.
Types of Lichen Planus:
Depending on the location of the development of lichen planus, there are a few variants of this skin condition. Find them below.
- Oral Lichen Planus: The most common variant of Lichen Planus affecting a large population is oral lichen planus. White, striated, round, irregular lesions are seen in Buccal mucosa, gums and inner cheeks in the individuals suffering from it.
- Lichen Planus Atrophicus or Sclerosus: This variant affects Vulva and male genitals. This variant causes atrophy and scarring; hence it derives the related name.
- Lichen Planus Hypertrophicus: This variant of lichen planus most commonly affects ankles and looks like a hypertrophied lesion.
- Lichen Planus Actinus: Lichen Planus Actinus is known to be a rare clinical variant of this skin condition, and it is characterized by the development of photo-distributed lichenoid lesions.
- Lichen Planus Nitidus: Light exposed areas are affected due to this variant and the condition is often observed along with the existing lichen planus lesions.
- Lichen Annularis: The lesions of this variant of lichen planus often occur in the form of rings and affect genitals and scrotum.
- Lichen Planus Linearis: The lesions of Lichen Planus Linearis commonly appear on the Limbs and are often observed in children.
- Lichen planopilaris: The lesions of lichen planopilaris develop in hair-bearing areas, such as the scalp and pubis.
- Bullous Lichen Planus: The eruptions resulting due to this variant are in the form of bullous or vesicles.
- Lichen Planus Pigmentosus: This variant presents as macular hyperpigmented lesions. Most commonly it affects the face and neck, though the entire body can be affected.
Home Remedies for Lichen Planus:
Lichen Planus is a stubborn, deep-seated condition that is very difficult to treat.
Here are some easy yet effective home remedies which can help you lessen your sufferings:
- Use Turmeric: Some of the pilot studies have revealed turmeric to be effective in reducing the itching, thereby reducing the agony of the lichen planus patient with its anti-inflammatory effects. Turmeric powder or paste can be applied over the affected skin areas twice or thrice a day.
- Eat Yogurt: Due to its antioxidant effects, Yogurt helps to combat the disease. Include yogurt in your diet, as it also strengthens your immune system.
- Have Oats: Oats are quite helpful in mitigating the suffering resulting due to lichen planus. Develop a habit of having it twice or thrice a week.
- Apply Coconut Oil: You can apply coconut oil on the affected skin areas as it helps reduce the itching and dryness considerably.
- Drink Water: Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. It is beneficial to have 8-12 glasses per day.
- Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Oral Hygiene in the case of Oral Lichen Planus needs to be maintained.
- Go for Vitamins and Supplements: Vitamin B9 and Folate are important, particularly for Oral Lichen Planus. Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D3 are also found to play a crucial role in maintaining good skin health. So, it is better that you check the levels of these vitamins regularly, and, if deficient, have vitamin supplements as per the directions of your doctor. Also, consuming fresh foods which are abundant in vitamins can help you eliminate vitamin deficiencies.
Homeopathy also helps in treating lichen planus effectively by addressing its root cause. So, if any time you happen to suffer from lichen planus, make sure that you follow these home remedies and opt for homeopathy to treat the skin condition effectively and safely without any side effects.
- Written by Dr. Kinjal S. Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah