Lichen Simplex Chronicus – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


Lichen simplex chronicus is a peculiar disorder of the skin. It is also known as Circumscribed Neurodermatitis or localized scratch dermatitis. Lichen Simplex Chronicus (LSC) is a condition created by the habitual scratching of a certain area such as the neck or legs.

It can occur at any age. It occurs both male and female as well as in children but it is more common in adults. It is seen that, it is common among Asians and Native Americans, and usually develops in people who are between the ages of 20 and 50. It occurs in 4-5 out of every thousand people.


The cause of lichen simplex chronicus is unknown. But researcher gives their own advice that it happens due to anxiety and depression. The condition doesn’t seem to be allergic.

Some believe that Lichen simplex chronicus is often caused by constant rubbing of the skin. The rubbing begins the chain of events that leads from itching to scratching and then to the presence of leather-like skin patches.The thickened skin itches, causing more scratching, causing more thickening.


The primary symptom of neurodermatitis is itchy skin which is often on the neck, wrist, forearm, thigh or ankle. Sometimes neurodermatitis affects genital areas, such as the vulva or scrotum.

Among these symptoms, the common area where it happens is-

  • Outer lower portion of lower leg
  • Wrists and ankles
  • Back and side of neck
  • Forearm portion of elbow
  • Scrotum, vulva, anal area, pubis
  • Upper eyelids
  • Opening of the ear
  • Fold behind the ear
  • Scratch marks on the skin.


Treatment of the itching is necessary to stop the scratching and resulting skin damage. There are a number of ways to stop itching. Perhaps the most important is to cut fingernails very short. Ice can be a good treatment for the relief of scratching. Heat and fuzzy clothing worsen itching; cold and smooth clothing pacify it. If the itching is persistent, then it is necessary to dressings to the affected areas.

Vaseline and cortisone compounds are the best medicines for controlling lichen simple chronicus. If it affects the large areas of the body then it will be necessary to treated with strong cortisone preparations and also require periodic check ups.

Another important treatment is mild topical steroid. Actually potent topical steroids are usually needed when it is in worst case. Apply a thin layer of the cream to the affected areas at night. Continue until the patch has flattened with the normal skin.For broken skin, topical antibiotics like bacitracin help prevent infection. These should be used early to forestall further damage to the skin.

Limit your time in the tub or shower. Bathe in warm not hot water. Use gentle cleansers or gels with added moisturizer. Gently pat your skin dry. Use plenty of moisturizer.

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