4 treatment options for lichen planus
Treatment for lichen planus is indicated by a dermatologist and can be done through the use of antihistamine drugs such as hydroxyzine or desloratadine, corticosteroid ointments and phototherapy. These treatment options vary according to the affected regions and aim to reduce skin lesions and relieve itching.
Treatment for lichen planus can last from a few months to several years, as the person with this diagnosis may have recurrent episodes of the disease, until the body responds to the therapies performed. It is important to remember that this disease is not contagious, however, in some cases it can be caused by the hepatitis C virus, and it can also be caused by the excessive use of anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen for example.
The main treatment options for nail, cutaneous, capillary, or genital lichen planus include:
The use of ointments with high-potency corticosteroids is the first option recommended by dermatologists to treat lichen planus, especially for cases in which the skin lesions are minor. This type of ointment helps reduce inflammation, swelling, redness and itching caused by lichen planus, with clobetasol, betamethasone, fluocinolone and triamcinolone being the most recommended alternatives.
In more severe cases, the use of calcineurins, such as tacrolimus and pimecrolimus, may be indicated, as they help reduce the cells that cause inflammation in the skin. Another ointment indicated in some cases are those made from retinoic acid, as it contains vitamin A, which also has an anti-inflammatory effect on skin lesions caused by lichen planus. See more on how to use retinoic acid on the skin.
If the ointments don’t work, the doctor may give corticosteroid injections around the skin lesion so that the effects of the medication are felt more quickly.
2. Use of medication
The use of medication to treat lichen planus must be recommended by a dermatologist and serves to improve the symptoms of this disease, such as intense itching, redness, burning and pain in the skin lesions. Corticosteroids are the most indicated remedies for these cases, which can be dexamethasone or prednisone, and they should be used as directed by the doctor, because even if the symptoms disappear, it is necessary to continue taking the pills.
Oral antihistamines can also be used to relieve itchy skin, the most common being hydroxyzine and desloratadine. This type of medicine causes a lot of sleep, so it is recommended to take the pills before bed and you should not use these medicines before driving.
Another type of medication that may be indicated by the doctor is acitretin, which is part of the oral retinoid drugs, and helps to reduce skin inflammation, reducing itching and redness, but it should only be used in people with the most severe symptoms. of lichen planus. And yet, in these more advanced cases of the disease, the person may show signs of depression and the doctor may advise follow-up with a psychologist and the use of antidepressants. Find out which are the most used antidepressants.
3. Home treatment
Home treatment for lichen planus is based on measures that help relieve symptoms and should include care such as applying cold compresses to swollen and itchy skin areas and maintaining a balanced diet, avoiding spicy, acidic and hard foods, such as bread, in case the lichen planus is in the mouth.
In cases of genital lichen planus, it is important to keep the affected area always hydrated, avoid the use of scented soaps and lotions, use cotton-based underwear, clean the area with cold water, and to relieve the itching you can make a sitz bath with chamomile. Learn about other natural remedies for itchy private parts.
Phototherapy can be used for the treatment of lichen planus, as long as it is recommended by a dermatologist. This therapy has anti-inflammatory effects and stimulates the immune system to fight the disease by applying ultraviolet rays directly to the skin lesions. It should be applied 2 to 3 times a week, and the number of sessions depends on the degree of the disease and the medical indication.
The side effects of phototherapy can be burns and the formation of vesicles on the skin, so it should only be performed by trained professionals and in clinics and hospitals specialized in this type of treatment.
Signs of improvement and worsening
Signs of improvement in lichen planus include the disappearance of itching, pain, swelling of the skin, and a reduction in the size of the lesions. However, after a few months of treatment, the lesions may also disappear or give way to lighter spots on the skin.
On the other hand, when there is an increase in the number and size of the skin lesions, in addition to the worsening of pain, itching, redness and swelling in the lesions caused by the disease, it is an indication that the disease has worsened, and it is important to return to the doctor for a new evaluation and establishment of a new treatment.
Also, when the treatment for lichen planus is not done properly or the symptoms take a long time to disappear, serious complications can arise, which include oral ulcers or skin cancer, in the mouth or intimate area.
Here are some precautions you should take to have healthier skin:
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