Update on lichen planus and its clinical variants

Int J Womens Dermatol. 2015 Sep 16;1(3):140-149. doi: 10.1016/j.ijwd.2015.04.001. eCollection 2015 Aug.


Lichen planus (LP) is an inflammatory skin condition with characteristic clinical and histopathological findings. Classic LP typically presents as pruritic, polygonal, violaceous flat-topped papules and plaques; many variants in morphology and location also exist, including oral, nail, linear, annular, atrophic, hypertrophic, inverse, eruptive, bullous, ulcerative, lichen planus pigmentosus, lichen planopilaris, vulvovaginal, actinic, lichen planus-lupus erythematosus overlap syndrome, and lichen planus pemphigoides. Clinical presentation of the rarer variant lesions may be largely dissimilar to classic LP and therefore difficult to diagnose based solely on clinical examination. However, histopathological examination of LP and LP-variant lesions reveal similar features, aiding in the proper diagnosis of the disease. Management of LP and LP variants aims to control symptoms and to decrease time from onset to resolution; it often involves topical corticosteroids, but varies depending on the severity and location of the lesion. The literature contains an array of reports on the variations in presentation and successful management of LP and its variants. A familiarity with LP and its variants is important in achieving timely recognition and management of the disease.

Keywords: LP; lichen; lichenoid; planopilaris; planus; variants.

Publication types

  • Review