Neurodermatitis is a skin condition that starts with a patch of itchy skin. Scratching makes it even itchier. This itch-scratch cycle causes the affected skin to become thick and leathery. You may develop several itchy spots, typically on the neck, wrist, forearm, thigh or ankle.

Neurodermatitis — also known as lichen simplex chronicus — is not life-threatening or contagious. But the itching can be so intense or recurrent that it disrupts your sleep, sexual function and quality of life.

Breaking the itch-scratch cycle of neurodermatitis is challenging. Treatment success depends on resisting the urge to rub or scratch the affected areas. Over-the-counter and prescription creams can help ease the itching. You'll also need to identify and eliminate factors that may be aggravating the problem.

Sept. 29, 2015