5 Things You Need To Know About Lichen Simplex Chronicus

Lichen simplex chronicus, also known as neurodermatitis, is a skin disorder that is caused by excessive scratching. Here are five things you need to know about it.

What are the signs of lichen simplex chronicus?

If you have lichen simplex chronicus, you will notice that you have raised patches in areas of your skin that you have been scratching. These patches tend to have a rough, scaly texture and will either be red or brown. The patches are also intensely itchy; some people even scratch the patches in their sleep!

What causes this disorder?

Lichen simplex chronicus is caused by prolonged scratching of the skin. This scratching leads to irritation and inflammation, and eventually, lichen simplex chronicus. Here are a few things that can lead to this excessive scratching:

  • Contact allergies;
  • Bug bites;
  • Eczema;
  • Anxiety.

Is it serious?

If you continue scratching the patches, you may cut or scrape your skin with your fingernails. This is a problem because bacteria can get inside the broken skin and lead to an infection. Continued scratching may also lead to scarring.

Lichen simplex chronicus can also have a major effect on your quality of life. Constant itching can make you feel self-conscious, and if the itching is severe, you may have trouble sleeping. Studies have also suggested that people with this condition become depressed or anxious as a result of their scratching.

How do dermatologists treat it?

To treat this condition, you'll need to stop scratching, but since this is difficult, your dermatologist can offer treatments to make it easier. Your dermatologist may give you a prescription for a steroid cream to help calm the irritation in your skin. You may also be told to apply lotion to the itchy areas and then cover them with dressings. The dressings are used to make it impossible for you to scratch the area.

You may also be given a prescription for antihistamines. These medications are used to treat allergic reactions, but they may help stop your itching, too.

How common is lichen simplex chronicus?

The prevalence of this condition among the general population still isn't known. One study of seniors with itchy skin found that 12% of them had lichen simplex chronicus. More studies need to be done to find out if the prevalence among other age groups is similar.

If frequent scratching has left you with dark, very itchy patches on your skin, you may have lichen simplex chronicus and should see a dermatologist like Dermatology Associates right away.