Hepatitis C: An In-Depth Guide

Purple or shiny itchy bumps (lichen planus)

Extremely itchy purple pimples or white patches on the skin may appear on the inside of the wrists and ankles, the lower legs, back, nails and genitals. This rash may be caused by a condition called lichen planus. This condition may also cause painful sores on mucous membranes, including the mouth.


The exact cause of lichen planus is unknown. It seems to be triggered by stress or viral infections such as hepatitis C. Studies show that anywhere from 3.5 percent to 60 percent of people with lichen planus have hepatitis C.


  • Your healthcare provider may suggest medications such as topical steroids and antihistamines to help stop the itching.
  • Photochemotherapy light treatment may be recommended.


Avoid alcohol, tobacco, spicy foods, peppermint, cinnamon and citrus foods as these can trigger lichen planus in the mouth.

Drink lots of water.

Wrap a cold pack in a towel and apply it to the rash.

Take an oatmeal bath.

Use unscented skin moisturizers or body lotions.

Use soap that contains a moisturizer or has high oil content.

Use laundry detergents that are formulated to be mild on the skin.

Wear loose-fitting clothing.

Avoid taking long hot showers or baths.