Lichen Simplex Chronicus

What is Lichen Simplex Chronicus?

LSC (Lichen Simplex Chronicus), also called scratch dermatitis or neurodermatitis, is a skin condition caused by frequent, excessive scratching. It does not develop suddenly. This is a complication resulting from habitual scratching in the same area, causing skin to thicken and acquire a leathery texture. The affected area typically becomes hyperpigmented, meaning it is darker than the surrounding skin.

Causes of Lichen Simplex Chronicus

This condition can occur anywhere on the body and affect individuals of various ages. However, it is most prevalent among adults between the age of 30 and 50, and it usually develops on the lower legs, ankles forearms, wrists, inside of the elbows, behind the knees, or on the neck.

The direct cause is scratching. The term lichenification refers to changes in the skin resulting from either rubbing or scratching excessively. In many cases, the underlying cause of the chronic itch is a separate skin condition, such as psoriasis, eczema, or dry skin. It can also begin with something as simple as an insect bite or irritation from ill-fitting clothing. Scratching can actually aggravate the itch, triggering more scratching and beginning a repetitive cycle. For many people, itching can also be a physical symptom of stress or anxiety.

Treatment for Lichen Simplex Chronicus at Dr. W Dermatology

The single most important step in treating Lichen Simplex Chronicus is breaking the habit of itching. For many people, this can prove to be quite difficult. If the itch is caused by a problem such as psoriasis, treating the underlying cause will make the habit easier to stop.

Depending on the nature of the problem, medication or simple changes in habits may be recommended.
  • Your doctor may prescribe anti-itch medication such as oral corticosteroids, antihistamines, or both to reduce skin inflammation and relieve the sensation of itching.
  • Hydrocortisone creams, which are available commercially, may be sufficient to control the itch.
  • Any broken skin, including dry, cracked areas, should be protected with antibacterial ointment.
  • Keep skin moist by using an oil-based ointment or cream after bathing.
  • Keep the area covered during sleep to prevent scratching.
Chronic itch, like other skin problems, is treatable with modern dermatology techniques. Call 281 771-0494 and schedule a consultation at Dr. W Dermatology to learn more about your options. For your convenience, we have two offices, one located in Katy and the other in Houston.