Complications of lichen planus

Complications of lichen planus may include discoloured skin and, in some cases, erosive lichen planusmay develop into certain types of cancer.

Skin pigmentation

After the lichen planus rash has cleared up, the affected area of skin may be a different colour to what it was originally. There may be a brown or grey mark, which can sometimes last for months. This is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and tends to be more noticeable in people with darker skin.

Erosive lichen planus

Erosive lichen planus is a long-lasting (chronic) form of lichen planus that causes painful ulcers to develop, as well as burning and discomfort in the genital areas of bothmale and females.

Occasionally, in around 2% of cases, long-term cases of erosive lichen planus can develop into certain types of Predictive genetic test for cancer risk genes , such as:

  • mouth cancer
  • vulval cancer
  • penile cancer

Regularly examining yourself and being aware of any changes that occur will help you to identify any problems at an early stage. Pay close attention to ulcerated areas in your mouth or genitals that don't heal and persist for a long time. Visit your GP immediately if you notice any changes that you're concerned about.

You should also visit your dentist regularly to ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy, and that any ulcers or patches that form in your mouth are examined and treated promptly. Depending on individual circumstances, dentalcheck-ups for adultsare recommended anywhere between every 3 to 24 months.

, including self-help tips for managing all types of the condition.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 24 Jun 2016