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Abstract

Aims We undertook this study to analyze the clinical profile of childhood lichen planus (LP) prevailing in north India, and to highlight differences from and similarities with adult LP.

Methods Clinical records of children with LP, who attended the Pediatric Dermatology Clinic, Nehru Hospital, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India, from July 1988 to December 2000, were analyzed.

Results Eighty-seven patients with LP were examined during a 12.5-year period of observation. These patients formed 2.5% of the total number of pediatric dermatology patients and 0.6% of the total number of new dermatology outpatients. The male : female ratio was 1.1 : 1. The age at onset was between 8 months and 12 years (mean, 7.1 years). Classical LP was observed in 53 (60.9%) patients, followed by actinic LP in 10 (11.5%), and lichen planus hypertrophicus (LPH) and linear LP in eight (9.2%) each. Other forms seen were eruptive, follicular, lichen planopilaris, atrophic, and bullous LP. The involvement of skin alone was observed in 75 (86.2%) children and mucosa alone only in one (1.1%) child. Concomitant skin and mucosal involvement was seen at the time of presentation in four patients, while mucosal involvement occurred later during the course of the disease in seven patients. Lesions appeared earlier in boys than in girls.

Conclusions The natural history of LP in children was essentially similar to that in adults. Unusual features, such as involvement of the palms and soles and upper eyelids, were observed. Actinic LP, mimicking melasma, as reported in adult women, also seems to occur in children.