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Pityriasis Lichenoides - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


Pityriasis lichenoides is a rare skin disorder that appears as a red or brown rash at first and of unknown aetiology divided into an acute and a chronic form. The chronic form shows elevated, reddened, dome-shaped papules in a symmetrical distribution, which enlarge, flatten, and show a fine scale on their surface. It displays milder skin changes than the acute form. It is possible that once the rash flattens out a brown mark will be left on the individual's skin.These brown marks do begin to fade after several months

This skin disorder is sometimes mistaken for chicken pox. It is a disease of the immune system. This condition is not at all dangerous or contagious. Pityriasis Lichenoides can affect all individuals equally. It seems to affect more males than females. Rarely it affects infants and individuals of old age. This skin disorder usually begins in the thirty's, but it can also affect adolescents and young adults. The disease can run over weeks, months, or even years,in which lesions appearing and disappearing continually.

Pityriasis Lichenoides generally has two types :

1.The short lived rash: Acute Pityriasis lichenoides et varioliformis acuta.

2.The long term form: Chronic Pityriasis lichenoides chronica.


the possible symptoms for pityriasis lichenoides are as:-

  • In the start a small raised rash that is red-brown in color appears .
  • Sometimes clear fluid may be present in these bumps. They will eventually break if left on their own.
  • Rash may be accompanied with a fever and headache, but these are very mild.
  • It almost feels like the case of flu.
  • The rash can last for a few weeks to a couple of months, and usually disappears entirely within one to two years.
  • New spots can irritate as they come up.


The main causes of pityriasis lichenoides are as:-

  • The cause of pityriasis lichenoides unknown, but the symptoms occurring in the childhood suggest that it is due to a virus infection.
  • Pityriasis lichenoides is probably a hypersensitivity reaction to a microorganism such as a virus.
  • A person suffering from Pityriasis Lichenoides generally has their immune system affected, as a result the rashes come out on the skin.


Treatment for the disease generally include following courses:

  • Application of steroids locally.
  • Photo therapy :Generally uses Ultraviolet A & sometimes UV-B therapy,Natural sunlight may be effective sometimes
  • Agents like Erythromycin and tetracycline are frequently used.
  • Potent topical steroids may have a use if only a few lesions are present
  • PUVA which is a combination of tablets known as P soralens with UVA has a greater effect on the skin, but carries a higher risk of side effects.
  • Corticosteroids creams and ointments can be used to control the skin rash,but precaution should be taken if the skin is sensitive to these areas.
  • Antihistamines such as Benadryl and other medicines such as methotrexate and Zithromax are generally prescribed by the doctors to relieve from itching.