What is neurodermatitis?
Neurodermatitis, or lichen simplex chronicus, is a skin disorder in which the skin becomes irritated, causing chronic itching and uncontrollable scratching. More women than men have neurodermatitis, and it tends to affect people between 20 and 50 years of age.
The involved areas of skin are otherwise normal and healthy – the problem is not the skin but the itching. The cycle of itching and scratching causes the skin to thicken and become scaly. The challenge in treating neurodermatitis is to break this cycle. Cream-based prescription medications and over-the-counter anti-itch remedies can be helpful in easing neurodermatitis symptoms.
Once you have stopped scratching the affected area, the skin returns to a normal appearance, although this could take some time, depending on the severity of your neurodermatitis.
The itching and scratching of neurodermatitis can lead to skin damage and secondary bacterial infections, which rarely can spread to deeper tissues. Seek prompt medical care if you have signs of infection such as pus; fever; warmth, redness or swelling; or enlargement of lymph nodes.
Seek prompt medical careif you find that your normal routine is being interrupted, you are experiencing sleep loss, you have pain, or you have an infection because of scratching.
What are the symptoms of neurodermatitis?
Neurodermatitis symptoms include chronic itching and scratching of the skin, a thick and scaly appearance of the area you have been scratching, and redness, warmth or swelling of the affected area.
Common symptoms of neurodermatitisYou may experience neurodermatitis symptoms daily or just once in a while. At times, any of these neurodermatitis symptoms can be severe:
What causes neurodermatitis?
The precise cause of neurodermatitis is not known. An itch, which can be caused by anything (insect bite, environmental change, dry skin, or tight clothing), may trigger a cycle of itching and scratching. The skin becomes irritated, which leads to more itching and scratching. Stress can exacerbate neurodermatitis.
How is neurodermatitis treated?
Neurodermatitis will not improve until the cycle of itching and scratching is disrupted. Your health care provider will design a treatment plan for controlling your neurodermatitis.