Lichenoid Dermatitis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment Options

Lichenoid Dermatitis is a term that is used to describe many skin conditions, usually related to lichen planus. This may be your first time hearing about this condition, which can be scary if you or a loved one has been diagnosed. If you are looking to get the most up-to-date information to include causes, symptoms, treatments, and overall education, you are in the right place! 

Lichenoid Dermatitis-causes, symptoms, treatment options

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What is Linchenoid Dermatitis?

Lichenoid Dermatitis is a skin condition that looks like “lichen”. Merriam-Webster’s medical definition is “any of several skin diseases characterized by the eruption of flat papules: especially Lichen Planus. 

When we break down the words “lichen” and “dermatitis”, we get this. 

Lichenoid: Broad term for skin diseases that have a flat bump (papule). 

Dermatitis: Inflammation of the skin 

Combine these words and we get something like “Inflamed skin bumps” 

This of course is a very basic meaning of the condition, but this condition can be complex. 

Lichenoid Interface Dermatitis

lichenoid interface dermatitis- the term "lichenoid" and lichenoid interface" are one in the same conditions

Lichenoid Interface Dermatitis and lichenoid dermatitis are really the same conditions.

According to The National Library of Medicine,  Lichenoid interface dermatitis is really the same term as just lichenoid dermatitis.

The words “lichenoid” and “interface” are talking about the same thing. 

Overall, this is a broad term for an inflammatory skin condition that contains raised spots or papules.

Disorders Linked to Linchenoid Dermatitis 

Lichenoid dermatitis is essentially a blanket term for a variety of disorders. According to the book, What is Lichenoid Dermatitis? By Diya F. Mutasim,  this term is a combination of disorders related to lichen planus (LP).

These closely related conditions linked to lichenoid dermatitis include: 

  • Lichenoid Drug Eruption
  • Lichen nitidus
  • Lichenoid Keratosis
  • Lichenoid Capillaritis (lichen Aureus)
  • Pityriasis Luchenoides
  • Keratosis Luchenoides Chronica
  • Lichenoid Mycosis Fungoides

Keep in mind, that this is not a complete list of disorders that can be linked to this condition.

Causes of Lichenoid Dermatitis

The cause depends on the underlying condition that is responsible for your symptoms. These conditions may include allergies, medications, or exposures, let me explain.

Causes Examples

Tropical Lichen

Tropical lichen is believed to be caused by sunlight, or damage to the skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays. 

Lichenoid Drug Eruption

Lichenoid Drug Eruption (LDE), or Drug-Induced Luchenoid Dermatitis is a reaction caused by ingested or injected drugs/medications.

 According to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, these drugs can cause lichenoid eruptions. 

Medications that May Cause Lichnoid Drug Eruptions (LDE)
  • Amlodipine 
  • ACE inhibitors (captopril, enalapril)
  • Beta-blockers (propranolol, oxprenolol, labetalol)
  • Cyanamide
  • Gold salt
  • Interferon alpha-2b intravenous globulil
  • Levamisole
  • Methyldopa
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAID)
  • Omeprazole / lansoprazole / pantoprazole 
  • Penicillamine
  • Streptomycin
  • Simvastatin
  • Suramin
  • Tiopronin


Lichenoid Dermatitis Symptoms 

  • Inflamed skin with papules (can appear anywhere on the skin)
  • Itchy
  • Thickening of skin
  • lesions 
  • Dermatosis (skin defect or lesion on the skin)

Is Lichenoid Dermatitis Contagious?

No, lichenoid dermatitis is not contagious and cannot be spread from person to person. This condition is inflammation of your own skin, and you do not transfer this inflammation to others. 

However, if you and another person both develop dermatitis from mutual exposure to inks, nickel products, resins, etc, this may give a false impression that you are contagious.

In reality, since you both were exposed to the same trigger, this would be contact dermatitis. 

Does Lichenoid Dermatitis Go Away?

Maybe. This condition is the catch-all for the symptoms you are having on your skin. The real culprit will need to be discovered and treated appropriately.

For instance, in cases where the cause of the condition is known (i.e. drug-induced or contact dermatitis) yes, the symptoms can go away.  

There are some effective treatment options available, depending on your condition and situation. 

Lichenoid Dermatitis Treatment Options

Since lichenoid dermatitis is a vague term to capture many possible conditions, the treatments vary depending on the underlying condition.

In general, there are some treatment options available to relieve symptoms.

Discontinue the use of the Drug Causing LDE

If you know you are suffering from lichenoid drug eruptions, talk with your doctors about your options with switching medications. 

Topical or Oral Steroids

The American Journal of Dermatopathology posted a study that documented the use of topical steroids or oral systemic treatments in patients with lichenoid dermatitis. 

The study concluded that these treatments were acceptable and responsive.

From my research, topical and/or oral steroids are the most common treatment option.

This is the CeraVe Hydrocortisone Cream 1%, which is currently the Amazon Choice topical steroid. Check it out on Amazon here.


The use of antihistamines may assist with taking away any itching that you have developed. Additionally, the use of antihistamines may calm down the inflamed skin, especially if your condition is allergy-related.


Lasers Lichenoid Dermatitis-Lasers may be useful in the treatment of lichenoid dermatitis

Lasers are still being studied on how they actually treat lichenoid dermatitis, but they seem to be working. This case study explains that a patient who was on a 10-month regimen of corticosteroids, received 6 laser treatments and the lesions were gone.

Astonishingly, she followed up 4.5 years later, and still, no lesions or scars were observed.  

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By Chris

Chris is the creator of Allergy Preventions. As an allergy sufferer himself, his vision is to help others find relief from allergies. By combining his 14 years of Public Health experience, personal experience, and his thirst for knowledge, he is dedicated to providing quality recommendations to assist families with allergy symptom relief.