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Definition

Lichen striatus begins similarly to lichen planus, with small bumps (papules), but over a period of days expands to form a long streak or band of affected skin. Lichen striatus is not dangerous or contagious. This skin disorder can affect any part of the body, but it is more commonly known to occur on the arms and or legs of a patient. Lichen Striatus is typically an asymptomatic condition, but mild itching may occasionally be present. This condition most commonly occurs in children between five and ten years of age. Lichen sclerosus does not affect other mucous membranes and only 1 in 10 people have other areas of their skin develop lichen sclerosus.     

Causes

The cause Lichen Sclerosus is unknown, although an overactive immune system may play a role. Some people may have a genetic tendency toward the disease, and studies suggest that abnormal hormone levels may also play a role. Lichen sclerosus has also been shown to appear at sites of previous injury or trauma where the skin has already experienced scarring or damage. An autoimmune response may also be involved. A case of lichen striatus has been reported during pregnancy, and it has been postulated that the pregnancy may have triggered an autoimmune response leading to the appearance of the eruption. Some reports simply suggest that lichen striatus is an inflammatory skin disease mediated by T cells.

Symptoms

The symptoms of the disease include rashes and small bumps on the body and it is not known as to why children get affected by it but when they get infected they do not cause any discomfort on their body due to rash. Lichen striatus starts as small pink, red or flesh coloured spots that over the course of one or two weeks join together to form a dull red slightly scaly linear band. The band is usually 2mm to 2cm in width and may be a few centimetres in length or may extend the entire length of the limb.

Treatment

The only treatment that you can administer to the trouble area is some cortisone creams. These creams are known to help sooth the problem area and the creams will try to speed up the process for recovery.

There is no effective treatment for lichen striatus and in most cases none is necessary. It usually resolves within 6 months but may leave temporary pale or dark marks.

Because lichen striatus is a self-limited disorder and because the lesions spontaneously regress within 3 -12 months, no treatment is needed. The patient and family should be reassured.

Very strong topical steroids under plastic occlusion may help, but intralesional steroids are more effective. Several courses of treatment may be necessary.

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