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
- AskMayoExpert. Pruritis. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
- Lichen simplex chronicus (Neurodermatitis). Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic-disorders/dermatitis/lichen-simplex-chronicus. Accessed July 29, 2015.
- Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Nummular eczema, lichen simplex chronicus and prurigo nodularis. In: Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed July 29, 2015.
- Wolff K, et al. Eczema/Dermatitis. In: Fitzpatrick's Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Aug. 5, 2015.
- AskMayoExpert. Phototherapy. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- Fazio SB, et al. Pruritus: Overview of management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 5, 2015.
- Ferri FF. Lichen simplex chronicus. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2016. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 29, 2015.
- Neurodermatitis. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/m---p/neurodermatitis. Accessed July 29, 2015.
- Liao YH, et al. Increased risk of lichen simplex chronicus in people with anxiety disorder: A nationwide population-based retrospective cohort study. British Journal of Dermatology. 2014;170:890.