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General Dermatology

Lichen Simplex Chronicus

LSC is caused by habitually scratching a certain area over a long period of time. Lichen Simplex Chronicus is also called neurodermatitis or scratch dermatitis. With Lichen Simplex Chronicus, a person scratches a certain area of skin so much that it becomes thick, rough or leathery. The affected skin becomes darker than the surrounding areas, also known as hyperpigmentation.

Although it can occur anyway anywhere, this condition usually affects the ankles, neck, wrist, forearms, thighs, lower leg, behind the knee or on the inner elbow . Other skin conditions such as dry skin, eczema or psoriasis can contribute to Lichen Simplex Chronicus.



Lichen Simplex Chronicus is not a primary disease but rather a reaction to repeated scratching or rubbing an area of skin. When skin gradually thickens because of repetitive scratching and rubbing, the term lichenification is used. This condition develops more often in women than men and usually happens between 30 and 50 years old.



The most important cure for Lichen Simplex Chronicus is to break the itching cycle which can be difficult. In some cases, your physician may prescribe antihistamines and/or oral corticosteroids to relieve itching and reduce inflammation.

These basic steps will help alleviate Lichen Simplex Chronicus:
  • Apply oil-based creams and ointments after bathing to keep skin moist
  • Cover the area at night to prevent involuntary scratching
  • Protect broken or cracked areas with antibacterial ointment to prevent infection
  • Use over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams to control itching

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