What Is the Treatment for Lichenoid Dermatitis?

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  • Written By: Jennifer Long
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2019
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Lichenoid dermatitis, also called lichen planus, is a type of skin condition that causes an itchy purple-colored rash. It is commonly caused by allergic reactions to medications or chemicals, but it can also be the result of a bacterial or viral infection. Common treatments for this skin condition include cortisone lotion and antihistamines. If an infection is present or there is a risk of an infection developing, topical or oral antibiotics may also be prescribed. Particularly severe cases of this type of dermatitis may also benefit from steroids treatments.

Treating lichenoid dermatitis successfully depends on the cause of the rash. Certain medications, such as those used to treat high blood pressure, hypoglycemia or arthritis, are known to cause this reaction. Sensitivity to chemical substances, such as harsh cleaning products, can also be responsible. In some cases, bacteria or a virus can be the cause and the rash is an immune system response.

Cortisone lotion is one effective treatment for this condition. Its creamy structure helps the cortisone stay on the area. It provides a reduction in inflammation and can help reduce the itchy feeling. This treatment is used to soothe the area.


Antihistamines are another common treatment, and are frequently used in conjunction with other treatments. These medications work to block the source of the reaction on a cellular level, while also reducing the body’s reaction. Inflammation, redness and itching can be lessened.

Antibiotics and anti-viral medications are commonly given to patients with lichenoid dermatitis. The antibiotics prevent bacterial infections that can occur when scratching causes broken skin. If bacterial infection is the cause of the rash, antibiotics kill the bacteria. Anti-viral medications are used when a virus causes the rash.

Severe cases of lichenoid dermatitis, such as those that have multiple sites where the rash appears, may require a more targeted, stronger treatment. In these cases, steroid injections may be given at each site. The steroids are used to help reduce the rash so that other treatments can work.

When lichenoid dermatitis is caused by medication or chemical reactions, cortisone and antihistamines can be used to reduce the symptoms, but only if the reaction is stopped. Medications must be adjusted or exposure to the chemical must stop. Treatments may help with symptoms, but if the cause is not addressed the rash will continue.

The skin is made up of several layers. A reaction that affects the epidermis layer and causes inflammation influences the inner layer, called the dermis. The rash that occurs is an unmistakable purple color and can have small bumps or large patches. It can appear on the scalp and lower back. This reaction can also appear on the arms or ankles.


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Post 2

@Ceptorbi - These skin conditions can cause embarrassment due to the rashes and the itching they cause. My grandmother had lichenoid dermatitis on her hands and felt it necessary to wear gloves in public to hide her purple rash and blisters. Anyone who has the symptoms of this ailment should see a dermatologist promptly to get lichenoid dermatitis information and treatment.

Post 1

This condition reminds me a bit of seborrheic dermatitis, otherwise known as dandruff. Seborrheic dermatitis leaves red rather than purple rashes on the skin, but it itches and the rash can appear on various parts of the body besides the scalp including the chest, back, and nose as well as behind the ears. Treatment for this skin disease can include topical corticosteroids as well as antifungal medications.

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