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Lichen planus (LIE-kun PLAY-nus) usually appears as purplish, often itchy, flat-topped bumps (lesions), most often on the inner forearm and near the wrists or ankles. Other common locations include the lower back, neck and legs.

The condition may develop gradually over a couple of months. After that, it rarely worsens, but it may persist for months or years. You can usually control mild lichen playnus symptoms, such as stinging and itching, by applying cool compresses or aloe vera gel to affected areas. More-severe symptoms may require drug treatment.

Lichen planus may also affect the mucous membranes, genitals, scalp or nails. Lesions on these sites these sites are generally more troublesome than are lesions on the limbs, persisting for longer periods and often recurring after initial healing.