Lichen planus is an inflammatory skin condition, characterized by an itchy, non-infectious rash of small, many sided, flat-topped pink or purple lesions (bumps) on the arms and legs. Other parts of the body including the inside the mouth may also be affected. Lichen planus of the skin usually causes itching. The onset may be gradual or quick, but the exact cause of the inflammation that leads to lichen planus is not yet fully understood.
A Lichen Planus significant number of skin specialist doctors (dermatologists) believe it might be classified as an autoimmune disease. A higher-than-normal percentage of people with hepatitis C (an infection caused by a virus that attacks the liver and leads to inflammation) and some other liver diseases have lichen planus.
Most of the time, the bumps go away without any treatment after about a year. However, treatment can make skin look better. The goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms and speed healing of the skin lesions. If symptoms are mild, no treatment may be needed. There is no known cure for skin lichen planus, but treatment is often effective in relieving itching and improving the appearance of the rash until it goes away.
In general, lichen planus is not a harmful or fatal disease. It usually goes away by itself in time, but can persist for a long time, running into years, and this varies from patient to patient.