Lichen planus is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the skin and mucous membranes. It is a common condition that affects approximately 1-2% of the world's population, and while it can affect people of all ages and ethnicities, it most commonly affects adults.
The exact cause of lichen planus is not known, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder. In a healthy person, the immune system helps protect the body against harmful substances and infections. However, in people with lichen planus, the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues, causing inflammation and damage.
Types of Lichen Planus
There are several types of lichen planus, each with their own distinct symptoms and characteristics. The most common form is cutaneous lichen planus, which affects the skin and typically presents as itchy, flat-topped, purple or pink bumps. These bumps can appear anywhere on the body, but are most commonly found on the wrists, ankles, lower back, and genitals.
Other types of lichen planus include oral lichen planus, which affects the mucous membranes of the mouth and can cause pain, burning, and the formation of white patches; and genital lichen planus, which affects the vulva, vagina, or penis and can cause pain, burning, and the formation of lesions.