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Lichen Planus

Many people get lichen (LY-kin) planus (PLAN-us). This disease can develop on one or several parts of the body. It can appear on the skin or inside the mouth. Sometimes, it appears in both places. Lichen planus can even change the way a person’s fingernails or toenails look. It also can appear on the genitals or a person’s scalp.

Lichen planus is not contagious. You cannot get this disease from someone else, and you cannot give it to anyone. Lichen planus is not a type of cancer.

When bumps appear on the skin, the bumps are often shiny, firm, and reddish-purple.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do dermatologists diagnose lichen planus?

A dermatologist often can tell whether you have lichen planus by looking at your skin, nails, and mouth. To make sure that you have lichen planus, a dermatologist may remove a bit of skin. This skin will be examined under a microscope to make sure. Your dermatologist may call this a biopsy. Sometimes, you may need blood tests to rule out other diseases.

Dentists often find lichen planus in the mouth during a checkup.

Who gets lichen planus?

Anyone can get lichen planus. It is most common in middle-aged adults. Women get lichen planus in their mouths more often than men do.

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