A Quick Overview of Lichen Nitidus

A community clinic pediatrician discusses lichen nitidus with a parent and child.

Lichen nitidus is a rare skin disease that leads to the appearance of small, skin-colored blisters on the skin. It is more common in children and young adults and usually goes away without any treatment. Applying mild cleansers and washing the affected area gently can be enough to deal with the annoying blisters. If this irritation persists, we recommend that you contact a pediatric specialist to discuss your options.

The condition is caused due to abnormal inflammatory activity within the skin cells, but it is not yet known what causes the inflammation. The glistening bumps or papules in lichen nitidus can be of different sizes, ranging from the size of a pinhead to the size of a pinpoint. Generally, they are round and flat-topped, and only appear pinkish on people with lighter skin.

Lichen nitidus bumps can occur on the abdomen, arms, chest, and genital areas. They rarely appear on the palms or soles of the feet. Sometimes, the blisters may fade on one area and then appear on another part of the body. They may also appear in a line when there is constant pressure on the area, a fold of skin, or a crease of skin, like on the inside of the elbow.

In some cases, the bumps may itch, even intensely, causing more irritation on the skin. Other than that, lichen nitidus may lead to symptoms like fever and pus or oozing from a rash. In such cases, it is recommended to visit a doctor and make sure that the blisters are not caused by any other condition.

The Association of Lichen Nitidus with Other Diseases

The actual cause of lichen nitidus is not known yet, but it is found that the bumps appear because of the inflammation of the white blood cells. Although more studies are required to learn about the causes and complications of lichen nitidus, it is believed that it may be associated with some other diseases. This may include:

  • Lichen planus – This is an inflammatory condition wherein flat-topped, red or purple itchy bumps appear on the skin. It can also lead to lacy white patches on the mouth.
  • Atopic dermatitis – Also known as eczema, this inflammatory skin disease is characterized by dry, itchy rashes on the skin, generally behind the knees, inside the elbow, on the hands and feet, and the face.
  • Crohn’s disease – This is an inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, which can cause severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, and malnutrition problems.
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis – This inflammatory disease is characterized by persistent joint pain, stiffness, and swelling in children and young adults.
  • Tuberculosis – Lichen nitidus is also linked to tuberculosis, an infectious bacterial disease that affects the lungs and causes many kinds of complications.