Lichen planus is an autoimmune, chronic, inflammatory, non-infectious condition affecting skin and mucus membranes. It is characterized by distinctive, flat-topped, reddish-purple skin lesions. Lichen planus lesions can be white, lacy, and painful patches in the mouth.
Although the exact cause of lichen planus is unclear, it is considered an autoimmune disorder. In lichen planus, the immune system targets its skin cells and attacks them. The severity of lichen planus varies in severity and presentation. This makes lichen planus a challenging condition to manage.
The conventional medicine system does not have much to offer to treat lichen planus. The only treatment available is topical or oral corticosteroids. These immunosuppressants are prescribed to control the immune-mediated response. Thus, when steroids are discontinued, the symptoms of lichen planus resurface.
However, homeopathy can effectively treat lichen planus. Homeopathy can give long-lasting solutions to chronic and stubborn lichen planus lesions.
Role of homeopathy in Lichen planus
Homeopathy is effective in treating all types of lichen planus. The scope of homeopathy in different types of lichen planus is different. It is best indicated in oral lichen planus, genital lichen planus, lichen planopilaris, and lichen planus pigmentosus.
Homeopathy gives the best results if you start treatment soon after the diagnosis. Treatment becomes prolonged when lichen planus is tampered with steroids.
Homeopathic medicines are prepared from natural substances. Thus, they are gentle and harmless. Also, they correct the root cause that alters the immune system without suppressing it. These medicines also prevent its further spread and heal lesions and pigmentation caused by lichen planus lesions.
Top five remedies for Lichen planus
Common name: Sublimated Sulphur
Sulphur is the best remedy for cutaneous lichen planus. It is indicated when the
lichen planus eruptions increase rapidly and worsen after applying other external ointments.
Lichen planus with dry, unhealthy skin with papules respond very well to Sulphur. Extreme itching eruptions that get relieved by scratching are best treated by this remedy. These people complain of a burning sensation after scratching. Lichen planus itching worse at night and while getting warm in bed is a keynote symptom of Sulphur.
Arsenic album (Ars.)
Common name: Arsenious acid
Ars. alb. is an effective homeopathic medicine for lichen planus eruptions that are scaly and itchy. This remedy proves to be very efficient for blue lichen planus eruptions that are dry, rough, and have intense scaling.
Lichen planus eruptions that are extremely dry, with intense itching compelling the person to scratch constantly, is an indication of this remedy. The more the scratching, the worse it gets.
Ars. alb. treats the later stages of lichen planus eruptions that have resolved, leaving the underlying skin hard. The medicine Ars. alb. is also indicated in the lichen planus of the scalp with thick scabs.
Mercurius solubilis (Merc.)
Common name: Quicksilver
Merc. sol. is one of the best remedies for mucosal lichen planus, especially oral eruptions. It proves to be very efficient in the case of lichen planus with irregular ulcers inside the cheeks. The edges of these lichen planus mucosal ulcers are not well-defined. These give cheeks a very unhealthy and dirty appearance. Often, there is increased saliva and foul odor from the mouth in lichen planus.
Kalium iodatum (Kali-i.)
Common name: Iodide of potassium
Another top remedy for lichen planus of legs is kali. iod. It helps in cases of lichen planus with purplish patches all over the body, especially the legs.
This remedy is indicated for dry, papular eruptions with itching. The itching worsens at night, from heat, and even from the heat of bed covers.
Sulphur iodatum (Sul-i.)
Common name: Iodide of sulphur
Sulphur iod. is one of the top natural remedies for lichen planus over the face and arms. These lichen planus eruptions are covered with papular rashes and have constant itching. Obstinate lichen planus over arms, with an itchy rash Sulphur iod. is an ideal remedy.
Causes of lichen planus
The exact cause of lichen planus is still under research. However, it involves several factors. Some possible causes and triggers of lichen planus include:
Lichen planus can be due to an abnormal immune response. The immune system targets your healthy skin cells in such a response.
Some people are genetically predisposed to lichen planus. The family history of lichen planus makes them more susceptible.
Certain medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and beta-blockers, can cause lichen planus as a side effect.
Oral lichen planus can be due to allergic reactions to dental materials or fillings.
In some folks, psychological stress may trigger lichen planus.
Contact with certain chemicals
Localized lichen planus may develop due to chemicals or allergens.
Symptoms of Lichen planus
Symptoms of different types of lichen planus are slightly different. Most common symptoms of lichen planus include:
Lichen planus skin lesions appear as flat-topped, shiny, reddish-purple bumps or lesions on the skin. These lichen planus lesions may develop over the wrists, ankles, lower back, and sometimes the genitals. There can be itching on the lichen planus lesions.
Oral lichen planus
Lichen planus in the mouth appears as white, lacy patches on the inner side of your cheeks or tongue. Oral lichen planus can be painful or have a burning sensation.
Genital lichen planus
In the genital area, lichen planus can result in lesions that cause discomfort, itching, or pain.
Lichen planus makes the nail appear thin, ridged, or grooved.
Hair and scalp involvement
Redness, inflammation, and hair loss are seen when lichen planus affects the scalp.
Pruritus, or itching, is a common symptom of most types of lichen planus.
The Koebner phenomenon is when new lichen planus lesions develop at skin injury or trauma sites.
The severity of lichen planus symptoms can vary from person to person. However, if you are experiencing any of these, seek help from a healthcare professional.
Treatment for Lichen planus
Lichen planus treatment depends on your age, type, and severity of lichen planus. It is a condition that can be managed but not cured completely. Here are some treatment options for lichen planus:
Topical corticosteroid creams or ointments are often prescribed for mild cases of lichen planus. It helps to reduce inflammation and itching.
Oral steroids are used in severe cases of lichen planus. Especially, where mucus membranes get affected.
Topical calcineurin inhibitors
Medications like tacrolimus or pimecrolimus are used in areas where corticosteroids are less effective. It helps reduce inflammation in lichen planus.
Oral medications like antihistamines, retinoids, or other immunosuppressive medicines are sometimes prescribed to control symptoms of lichen planus.
Light therapy or phototherapy
Ultraviolet (UV) light therapy is used in some cases of lichen planus.
Oral rinses or gels with corticosteroids are prescribed for lichen planus affecting the mouth or oral mucosa.
Applying moisturizers and emollients can relieve dryness and itching in affected areas of lichen planus.
Lifestyle modifications for Lichen planus
Lifestyle modifications play a significant role in managing the lichen planus and minimizing its symptoms. Here are some lifestyle modifications that can benefit those with lichen planus.
Quit alcohol and smoking
Eliminating alcohol consumption and quitting smoking can positively impact health and help manage lichen planus.
Good oral hygiene
For oral lichen planus, maintaining good oral hygiene practices is essential. It helps to reduce the discomfort of lichen planus. It also reduces the risk of secondary infections in oral lichen planus. Regular dental check-ups can be an added benefit if you have oral lichen planus.
Stress can exacerbate lichen planus symptoms. Practicing stress reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises can be helpful.
Some substances like medications, allergens, or specific foods can trigger lichen planus flare-ups. Identifying and avoiding these triggers can make a difference in lichen planus flare-ups.
Skin care plays a crucial role in lichen planus management. Applying moisturizer can prevent skin dryness and itching. Also, avoid harsh soaps and scented products that can cause skin irritation.
Protect your skin from trauma
Skin injuries can trigger new lichen planus lesions. Take precautions to protect your skin from injury, cuts, or abrasions to prevent new lesions.
Stopping the immune response to manage lichen planus is not a practical solution. Homeopathy can correct your hyperactive immune system and prevent autoimmune responses. Thus, constitutional homeopathic medicines for lichen planus yield gentle, safe, and long-lasting results.
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