Lichen Planus Overview

Lichen Planus Treatments

It's pretty hard to cure something if you don't know its cause. Fortunately, lichen planus does go away on its own. On the other hand, that can take a couple of years for an outbreak on your skin and up to five years if it's inside your mouth. Just the idea of living with an itchy rash for that long would upset a lot of people. Actually having to do it is a whole other story. Thankfully, there are several treatment options available to help make living with lichen planus more bearable.

The first thing most people want to treat is the itching. Sometimes a simple antihistamine can be enough to bring relief. This is especially true when your lichen planus may be the result of an allergic reaction. If the disease is only affecting a small part of your body, a hydrocortisone cream might be effective at reducing symptoms as well. Just be careful not to apply too much. If you do, you could end up irritating the skin around the affected area as well [source: Katta]. Topical corticosteroids and oral corticosteroids can also be used to reduce inflammation and slow down your malfunctioning immune system. In extremely severe cases, corticosteroids can even be directly injected into the affected area. For oral lichen planus, you may want to try lidocaine mouth washes. They may be able to give you some temporary relief by numbing the affected area [source: Berman].

A special kind of ultraviolet A (UVA) light therapy, known as PUVA, has also been proven to help treat some cases of lichen planus. PUVA stands for "psoralen and UVA light," since people undergoing the treatment take a dose of psoralen medication before exposing themselves to UVA light. If nothing else seems to be working, a retinoid pill may help. This option, however, tends to come with quite a few negative side effects [source: Katta]. Keep in mind that each case of lichen planus is different from the next, and that means it could take a combination of treatments to see any results. You'll need to work with your doctor to find the treatments that are most effective for you.

Of course, you could always try a few home remedies as well. Keep reading to find out what your options are.