Remember, there is no cure for lichen planus. The point of treatment, therefore, is to help provide you with relief from the disease until it eventually goes away on its own. If you're not comfortable using corticosteroids or ultraviolet light therapy, you still have a few options. In fact, a good bath and a few cool rags might be all you need.
One of the most popular home remedies for lichen planus is soaking in a tub with colloidal oatmeal [source: Mayo Clinic]. This form of treatment is actually useful for treating all sorts of itchy rashes, including poison ivy, chicken pox and eczema. It's best to fill the tub with lukewarm water. Using water that's too hot might irritate your skin even more and could eventually dry you out. Simply mix the oatmeal according to the directions that come with it, then sit back and relax in the tub. You can pick up colloidal oatmeal at your local drug store or supermarket.
Cool compresses can be effective as well [source: Mayo Clinic]. They can soothe even the most uncomfortable itching sensations and provide you with some relief. All you have to do is soak some washcloths in cool water and then apply them to the affected area of skin. It's not a bad idea to use some type of lotion or moisturizing cream following a cool compress, too. This will help trap in moisture and keep your skin from getting dry.
If you have oral lichen planus, there's unfortunately not a whole lot you can do. Try avoiding alcohol and tobacco, as well as spicy and acidic foods. They have a tendency to cause irritation and could even make your symptoms worse. Also, be sure to maintain good oral hygiene in an effort to reduce your chances of getting an infection [source: CNN].
See the links below for lots more information on the mysterious lichen planus.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Lichen Planus." 2004. (Oct. 13, 2009)http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/common_lichen.html
- American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. "Lichen Planus." 2009. (Oct. 13, 2009)http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/lichen_planus.html
- Baylor College of Dentistry. "OLP Facts." 2001. (Oct. 13, 2009)http://www.tambcd.edu/lichen/olpfacts/facts/facts.html
- Berman, Kevin MD, PhD. "Lichen planus." National Institutes of Health. Oct. 3, 2008. (Oct. 13, 2009)http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000867.htm
- Chuang, Tsu-Yi MD, MPH & Laura Stitle, MD. "Lichen Planus." eMedicine. April 18, 2008. (Oct. 13, 2009)http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1123213-overview
- CNN. "Oral lichen planus." Aug. 15, 2008. (Oct. 13, 2009)http://edition.cnn.com/HEALTH/library/oral-lichen-planus/DS00784.html
- Katta, R. MD. "Lichen Planus." Family Doctor. Dec. 2006. (Oct. 13, 2009)http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/skin/disorders/600.html
- Mayo Clinic. "Lichen planus: Lifestyle and home remedies." Aug. 15, 2008. (Oct. 13, 2009)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lichen-planus/DS00782/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies
- Mayo Clinic. "Lichen planus: Risk factors." Aug. 15, 2008. (Oct. 13, 2009)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lichen-planus/DS00782/DSECTION=risk%2Dfactors
- MedicineNet. "Lichen Planus." July 25, 2003. (Oct. 13, 2009)http://www.medicinenet.com/lichen_planus/article.htm