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Lichen planus is an uncommon skin complaint. It is thought to be due to an abnormal immune reaction provoked by a viral infection (such as hepatitis C) or a drug. Inflammatory cells seem to mistake the skin cells as foreign and attack them.

Lichen planus may cause a small number of skin lesions or less often affect a wide area of the skin and mucous membranes. In 85% of cases it clears from skin surfaces within 18 months but it may persist longer especially when affecting the mouth or genitals.

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