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Lichen Nitidus Workup

  • Author: Zeina Tannous, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
Updated: Jul 19, 2016


A skin biopsy for histopathologic examination may be obtained to confirm the clinical diagnosis.


Histologic Findings

The papule of lichen nitidus consists of a lymphohistiocytic inflammatory cell infiltrate that lies in close proximity to the epidermis and is associated with basal cell hydropic degeneration. The overlying epidermis is flattened and parakeratotic. At the lateral margins of the papule, the rete ridges extend downward and seem to hug the inflammatory infiltrate, which may be granulomatous.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Zeina Tannous, MD Associate Professor and Chair, Lebanese American University; Chief of Dermatology, University Medical Center, Rizk Hospital, Lebanon; Visiting Associate Professor in Dermatology, Harvard Medical School; Clinical Associate in Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital

Zeina Tannous, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Mohs Surgery, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, International Society of Cosmetic and Laser Surgeons, International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology, Lebanese Dermatological Society, Lebanese Order of Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Michael J Wells, MD, FAAD Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L Foster School of Medicine

Michael J Wells, MD, FAAD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, Texas Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Warren R Heymann, MD Head, Division of Dermatology, Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Warren R Heymann, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Dermatopathology, Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

William D James, MD Paul R Gross Professor of Dermatology, Vice-Chairman, Residency Program Director, Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

William D James, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

David P Fivenson, MD Associate Director, St Joseph Mercy Hospital Dermatology Program, Ann Arbor, Michigan

David P Fivenson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Michigan State Medical Society, Society for Investigative Dermatology, Photomedicine Society, Wound Healing Society, Michigan Dermatological Society, Medical Dermatology Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


The authors and editors of Medscape Reference gratefully acknowledge the contributions of previous author, Nelly Rubeiz, MD, to the development and writing of this article.

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Multiple skin-colored shiny papules associated with lichen nitidus.
Multiple shiny lichens over the penis.
Köbner phenomenon in lichen nitidus.
Lichen nitidus.
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