Lichen simplex chronicus is a skin disorder that leads to chronic itching and scratching.
This disorder may occur with:
It is common in children, who chronically scratch insect bites and other areas. It can also be common in mentally retarded children who have chronic repetitive movements.
This skin disorder leads to a scratch-itch cycle:
The diagnosis is primarily based on the appearance of the skin and a history of chronic itching and scratching. A skin lesion biopsy may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
The primary treatment is to stop scratching the skin. This may include counseling to become aware of the importance of not scratching, stress management, or behavior modification.
The itching and inflammation may be treated with a lotion or steroid cream applied to the affected area of the skin. Peeling ointments, such as those containing salicylic acid, may be used on thickened lesions. Soaps or lotions containing coal tar may be recommended.
Dressings that cover and protect the area may be used with or without medication creams. They are left in place for a week or more at a time.
Antihistamines, sedatives, or tranquilizers may be needed to reduce itching and stress. Steroids may be injected directly into lesions to reduce itching and inflammation.
Patients who have an emotional component to their lichen simplex chronicus may need antidepressants and tranquilizers.
You can control lichen simplex chronicus by reducing stress and scratching less. The condition may return or change sites.
Call your health care provider if: