Lichen planus might form flat-topped bumps on an arm.
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Lichen planus (LIE-kun PLAY-nus) is an inflammatory condition that can affect the skin and mucous membranes. On the skin it causes itchy, flat-topped bumps (lesions). The bumps may be red, purple, ashy or brown depending on skin color. In the mouth, vagina and other areas covered by a mucous membrane, lichen planus forms lacy discolored patches.

The condition may develop gradually over several weeks. After that, it may persist for months or years. The affected skin often heals with patches of darker skin (postinflammatory hyperpigmentation), especially in people with brown or Black skin.

The symptoms of mild lichen planus on the skin can be eased by applying cool compresses or a nonprescription hydrocortisone cream. Severe symptoms may require treatment with a prescription drug.

Lesions on mucous membranes tend to take longer to heal and often recur.

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