Lichen Simplex Chronicus

Lichen Simplex Chronicus
Lichen Simplex Chronicus

Overview Of Lichen Simplex Chronicus

Lichen Simplex Chronicus (LSC) is a skin condition caused by chronic itching and scratching.

Commonly Associated With

Neurodermatitis circumscripta

Causes Of Lichen Simplex Chronicus

LSC may occur in people who have:

The problem is common in adults but may also be seen in children.

Symptoms Of Lichen Simplex Chronicus

LSC leads to scratching, which then causes more itching. It often follows this pattern:

  • It may start when something rubs, irritates, or scratches the skin, such as clothing.
  • The person begins to rub or scratch the itchy area. Constant scratching (often during sleep) causes the skin to thicken.
  • The thickened skin itches and this leads to more scratching. This then causes more thickening of the skin.
  • The skin may become leathery and brownish in the affected area.

Symptoms Of LSC include:

  • Itching of the skin that may be long-term (chronic), intense, and that increases with stress
  • Leathery texture to the skin
  • Raw areas of skin
  • Scaling
  • Skin lesion, patch, or plaque with sharp borders and a leathery texture, located on the ankle, wrist, back of the neck, rectum, anal area, forearms, thighs, lower leg, back of the knee, and inner elbow

Exams & Tests

Your health care provider will look at your skin and ask if you have had chronic itching and scratching in the past. A skin lesion biopsy may be done to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment Of Lichen Simplex Chronicus

The main treatment is to reduce the itch.

You may need to use these medicines on your skin:

  • Lotion or steroid cream on the area to calm itching and irritation
  • Numbing medicine
  • Peeling ointments containing salicylic acid, lactic acid, or urea on patches of thick skin
  • You may need to use dressings that moisturize, cover, and protect the area. These may be used with or without medicated creams. They are left in place for a week or more at a time. Wearing cotton gloves at night may prevent skin damage from scratching.

To control itching and stress associated with LSC you may need to take medicines by mouth, such as:

  • Antihistamines
  • Other oral medicines that control itch or pain
  • Steroids may be injected directly into the skin patches to reduce itching and irritation.

You may need to take antidepressants and tranquilizers if the cause of your itching is emotional. Other measures include:

  • Counseling to help you realize the importance of not scratching
  • Stress management
  • Behavior modification