Neurodermatitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Neurodermatitis, also known as lichen simplex chronicus, is a chronic skin condition that involves an itchy, irritated area of skin that can become thickened over time. Although it is not life-threatening, neurodermatitis can be uncomfortable and cause anxiety, sleeplessness, and other physical ailments.

What causes neurodermatitis?

Neurodermatitis may be caused by a number of factors, including allergies, bugs, a fungal infection, and environmental conditions. It is often triggered by a physical or emotional stimulus and is often associated with stress and anxiety. It is also more common in people who have eczema or psoriasis. Neurodermatitis may also be caused by skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, and seborrheic dermatitis.

What are the symptoms of neurodermatitis?

The main symptom of neurodermatitis is an intense itch in the affected area. Other common symptoms may include:

  • Dry, scaly, or crusted skin
  • Skin thickening over time
  • Redness and swelling
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Uncontrollable scratching

How is neurodermatitis treated?

The primary goal of treating neurodermatitis is to reduce the itching and scratching. Treatment for neurodermatitis may include:

  • Medications such as antihistamines, corticosteroids, or topical antivirals to reduce itching
  • Light therapy such as phototherapy, PUVA, and ALA to reduce inflammation
  • Topical moisturizers, creams, and lotions to protect the skin from scratching
  • Moisturizers to reduce dryness and irritation
  • Oral antibiotics to treat infection
  • Stress management techniques such as relaxation, yoga, and meditation to reduce stress and anxiety

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the affected skin. In severe cases, medications such as antidepressants or antianxiety medications may be prescribed to help manage symptoms.