Lichenoid Dermatitis

Lichenoid dermatitis is a skin disorder within the eczema category. This condition is the least common form of eczema, but it is still affects many individuals.

The most common people to experience this form of dermatitis are the elderly, but it can occur throughout any time in life and is recognized by a purple coloring of the skin.


This type of eczema is caused by damage to the epidermis of the skin, which alters how the outer layer of the skin interacts with the inner layer. The two layers of skin develop an allergic reaction to one another, and this reaction causes the area to become inflamed and purple in color.

The exact cause is unknown, but dermatologists believe the condition is caused by an adverse reaction to drugs, chemicals, or due to a viral infection within the body. The reason it is most commonly seen in the elderly is because heart disease and high blood pressure medications are the most common causes.


  • Affected areas - Most commonly present on the ankles, forearms, wrists, and the lower back, it's a skin disorder that can occur anywhere. It has been found on the scalp, fingernails, tongue, inner mouth cheeks, and genital area.
  • Bumps on the skin- Lichenoid dermatitis presents itself as purple bumps on the body, which range from a group of tiny dots to bumps that are large in size. The bumps often become itchy and swollen, causing an uncomfortable feeling to occur.
  • Skin discolouration - Without treatment, the bumps can become scaly, and they cause the skin to have a gray discolouration after they are cleared from the skin. Due to this discoloration, the skin develops a purple hue. However, with the right treatment, it can clear up, and your skin will remain a healthy color.


Treatment generally involves:

  • Steroid creams - Many doctors prescribe cortisone creams.
  • Discontinuation of medication - This is done if a drug is the culprit.
  • Antibiotics - An antibiotic may also be used to help clear the skin of the rash.
  • Antihistamines - While undergoing treatment, the doctor may also prescribe antihistamines or steroid shots to get rid of the inflammation and itchy sensation. However, these two medicines are only used to relieve the symptoms, and they will not clear up the rash on their own.
  • Laser therapy - For cases where skin discoloration has occurred, laser therapy may be used to rid the skin of the purple-gray color and to restore a more natural appearance.

Additional Information

In certain cases, lichenoid dermatitis can be the result of more serious health conditions, such as hepatitis C or a disease called grafted-virus-host (GVF). When hepatitis or GVF occur, evaluation by a medical professional is important even if the condition resolves, as the virus can be inside of the body. Even when the virus does not produce any external symptoms, it will come back overtime. Therefore, treatment is necessary.

Home - Types of Eczema - Lichenoid Dermatitis

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