Is Lichen Planus Hereditary?

Lichen Planus is a dermatological condition, which is still under various investigative studies. There is a lot of information circulating around the causes of this disease including generic concerns. It is important to narrow down, or rather define or possible causes for LP to make it easier to fight against it. When we talk about lichen planus being a hereditary condition, we want to establish whether or not one’s family lineage can lead to its pathogenesis.

Is Lichen Planus Hereditary?

Is Lichen Planus Hereditary?

Lichen Planus is more of an autoimmune disease and not a hereditary condition. However, there is a small possibility that certain genetic combinations can prompt the occurrence of lichen planus. The first generation of offspring from parents who experienced the illness is likely to contract it. On the other hand, as the generation continues to trickle down, the risk declines as well. To further clarify this situation, the main factor is not lichen planus being transferred, but an allergic reaction to some of the lichen planus causing factors. Heritability can be regarded as a lichen planus contributing factor and not a major cause of the condition.

Lichen Planus, An Autoimmune Disease

Lichen Planus is an autoimmune disease that causes swelling and irritation inside your mouth, on your skin, genitals, scalp, and nails. On external skin, scalp, and nails, lichen planus rashes are usually itchy while inside the mouth and genitals, it may bring about a burning sensation. Lichenoid eruptions will manifest when your immune system reacts negatively to healthy body cells. Patients with a genetic predisposition are likely to have lichen planus as a defense mechanism by their immune systems.

Lichen Planus Causes

In the name of shedding more light on Lichen Planus causes, there are a few aspects that have been put into play. Nevertheless, it still remains that its etiology has not been fully identified. Without further ado, here are some possible causes of lichen planus:

Reaction to some medications. This includes high blood pressure medications such as beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, diuretics and calcium inhibitors, to mention a few. Anti-inflammatory medication, malaria, and diabetes drugs can also lead to lichenoid eruptions.

  • Response to exposure of chemical substances such as paraphenylenediamine and light by photography development.
  • Allergic reaction to mercury tooth fillings and metals such as Bismuth and Gold.
  • A side effect of other illnesses including hepatitis C and Grinspan’s syndrome.
  • Immense and prolonged stress e.g. anxiety and trauma.

Who Is At Risk of Lichen Planus?

Anyone is at risk of lichen planus from children, to males and females. Although, lichen planus cases in children are rare and middle-aged adults have a higher chance of the condition. This can be associated with the fact that the older you get, the more you are likely to contract illnesses that are much more complex. In the treatment of other illnesses, then the patient’s body may have an allergic reaction to the drugs and cause lichen planus. Lichen planus caused by medication is referred to as drug-induced lichen planus. Needless say, some middle-aged individuals are on various medications that might contain components that may trigger the manifestation of lichen planus. Women are more prone to lichen planus than men, especially when it comes to oral lichen planus.


Is lichen planus hereditary? No, but some members of the same lineage can get it. Having lichen planus does not necessarily mean that your children will have the condition. In the same manner, not developing lichen planus does not automatically imply that your children will not develop the disease. Most cases of lichen planus in terms of genetic makeup comes about when the body reacts to something you are allergic to. It can range from medication to chemical substances or other illnesses. Lichen planus often heals on its own and medication is not necessary. If you suspect you have lichen planus, you can visit a dermatologist for diagnosis and possible treatments. However, you should not stress over the scars left behind by lichen planus rashes as they clear within a few months.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 27, 2019

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