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What Is Lichen Striatus?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Lichen striatus is a relatively rare skin disorder that primarily affects children. The rash associated with this skin condition does not itch or provide any discomfort to the affected person, although the bumps eventually join together to create long bands of scaly patches on the skin. The arms and legs are the most commonly affected areas, although the rash can appear anywhere on the body. For reasons that are not clearly understood, girls are afflicted with lichen striatus more often than boys. Any questions or concerns about lichen striatus in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

The development of an unexplained rash on the arms or legs is often the first noticeable symptoms of lichen striatus. Small, raised bumps that are usually pink or flesh-colored and do not itch are characteristic of this skin disorder. Within a few days or weeks of the appearance of these bumps, the papules begin to join together, creating long bands of affected skin that become crusty or scaly in appearance. In most cases, there is no itching or discomfort associated with lichen striatus, although mild to moderate itching may sometimes be experienced. In those with darker skin, the lesions associated with the disorder often appear white or lighter in color than the rest of the skin.

The exact cause of lichen striatus is not known, although there have been reported cases of siblings affected with the disorder. Some research suggests that there may be a viral cause, although this theory has not been conclusively proved. This type of skin disorder is not contagious and does not pose any threat to the overall health of the patient.

Treatment for lichen striatus is not usually necessary, as the condition typically resolves on its own after a period of time. It could take anywhere from several weeks to several years for the lesions to disappear, and the skin may temporarily darken as part of the healing process. In some cases, topical steroid creams may be used in an effort to speed the healing process, although steroid injections introduced directly into the lesions may be more helpful. This condition is notoriously resistant to treatment in many cases, so it is often a better choice to just let it run its course, especially when no negative side effects are present. A doctor can help the patient decide if treatment is recommended on an individual basis.

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