Psoriasis and lichen planus

Psoriasis and Lichen Planus

What are Psoriasis and Lichen Planus?

Psoriasis is an unpredictable, persistent skin disorder. Psoriasis happens when skin cells multiply nearly ten times faster than normal. The underlying skin cells reach skin’s surface and their volume can cause raised red plaques that are covered in white scales. Psoriasis occurs on the knees, elbows and scalp, occasionally affecting the torso, nails, palms and soles of the feet.

Lichen Planus is a recurrent, pruritic inflammatory eruption that is a skin rash. Lichen Planus is triggered by the immune system (an autoimmune disease) but the exact cause is not known. Best Dermatologists suggest that lichen Planus occurs due to viral infections, genetics, allergens and stress. Lichen Planus has no known cure but there are many medications that could control the symptoms.

What is the cause?

Rashes on the body can appear for various reasons. Many skin conditions can cause skin abnormalities like rashes and itches. Two of the major skin conditions that can cause these symptoms are psoriasis and lichen Planus.

The main reason why psoriasis and lichen Planus are mentioned together (despite occurring together rarely) is because they have a lot of common features. In rare cases, there is spontaneous improvement of psoriasis can occur while lichen Planus develops. The cause for psoriasis is thought to be autoimmune dysfunction of the skin cells due to genetic, environmental, infectious and stress factors. The cause for Lichen Planus is autoimmune dysfunction of skin cells due to viral infections, genetics, allergens and stress.

What are the symptoms?

Lichen Planus can be characterised by purplish colour lesions or bumps with flat tops on the skin or genitals that develop and spread over the body over the course of weeks. There is itching at the site of the rash and lacy white lesions which may be painful or cause a burning. Lichen Planus also results in blisters that burst and become shabby with thin white lines of the rash. Lichen Planus makes itself known as bumps or lesions that have white lines through them. They can appear on the wrists, legs, torso or genitals.

Lichen Planus most commonly occurs in the mouth as fine white lines and dots that may grow with time. Be it on the gums, cheeks, lips or tongue. The lichen Planus outbreaks in the mouth can be painful. When Lichen Planus occurs on the nails or scalp, it may cause grooves or splits and loss of nail. Scalp based Lichen Planus causes hair loss.

Lichen Planus happens when the body starts attacking the skin or the mucous membrane cells thinking they are intrusions. Dermatologists have no idea why this happens but Lichen Planus can occur during any age and can be passed from family members or due to a viral disease like hepatitis C. Certain chemicals can also act as allergens including antibiotics, arsenic, gold, iodide compounds, diuretics and some kind of dyes.

The symptoms of psoriasis include plaques of red skin covered by loose sliver coloured scales that are itchy and painful, sometimes cracking and bleeding. The plaques of skin grow and merge together, covering large areas. Fingernails can be prone to discoloration and pitting of nails that might also crumble or detach from the nail bed.

Psoriasis can appear as guttate (small dots on the entire body), inverse (red lesions in the body folds), pustular (white blisters surrounded by red skin) and erythrodermic (widespread red irritated rash throughout the body). They can appear individually or different types can occur simultaneously. Psoriasis can also be accompanied by pain, soreness, burning, cracked or bleeding skin.

How are they diagnosed?

It is easy for a dermatologist to diagnose them on clinical examination. However, occasionally a skin biopsy may be needed for confirmation. Psoriasis in the later stages can affect the bones and joints, and the internal organs of the body in which case a blood profile and X- rays etc. may be advised.

What is the treatment for psoriasis and Lichen Planus?

Lichen Planus and psoriasis do not have a specified cure but various treatment procedures are aimed at reducing the symptoms and the discomfort.

Psoriasis symptoms including the itching and rashes can be treated with topical ointments, light therapy and oral medications. Nowadays, biological therapy has revolutionised treatment of psoriasis though it is currently very expensive. Psoriasis is a chronic condition and can outbreak suddenly, repeatedly but can be helped by reducing stress, monitoring diet and reducing sun exposure. If the patient notices any specific psoriasis triggers it would be better to avoid them.

Lichen Planus is a curious dermatological condition. Dermatologists have suggested that it does disappear on its own sometimes. When the symptoms arrive, they can be painful. To reduce the symptoms and aid healing, dermatologists suggest topical and oral medicines, including light therapy. Lichen Planus can leave the skin discoloured after clearing up and doctors can recommend creams lasers or other methods to reduce it.

Both Lichen Planus and Psoriasis can break out in symptoms suddenly or over time. A rash or pustule on the skin or even lesions that occur in mouth and genitals should be treated immediately. It is best to consult a dermatologist to check the rashes and confirm the diagnosis. Dermatologists may confirm the presence with biopsy or allergy tests. Tests of Hepatitis C are also done to rule out the cause.

Visit to know more about treatment methods.

Dr. Rinky Kapoor is a cosmetologist and renowned dermatologist practicing in Mumbai, India. She is a consultant with the Fortis Hospitals, Mumbai, India and is also the co founder of The Esthetic Clinic.


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