Learn About Lichen Simplex Chronicus

What is the definition of Lichen Simplex Chronicus?

Lichen simplex chronicus (LSC) is a skin condition caused by chronic itching and scratching.

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What are the alternative names for Lichen Simplex Chronicus?

LSC; Neurodermatitis circumscripta

What are the causes of Lichen Simplex Chronicus?

LSC may occur in people who have:

  • Skin allergies
  • Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
  • Psoriasis
  • Nervousness, anxiety, depression, and other emotional problems

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

What are the 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 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
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What are the current treatments for 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, 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
Who are the top Lichen Simplex Chronicus Local Doctors?
Highly rated in

University Of Ferrara

Section Of Dermatology And Infectious Diseases, Department Of Medical Sciences 
Ferrara, IT 

Monica Corazza practices in Ferrara, Italy. Corazza is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Lichen Simplex Chronicus. She is also highly rated in 15 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Lichen Sclerosis, Lichen Simplex Chronicus, Contact Dermatitis, and Cherry Angioma.

Highly rated in

University Of Münster

Muenster, NW, DE 

Sonja Stander practices in Muenster, Germany. Stander is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Lichen Simplex Chronicus. She is also highly rated in 15 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Prurigo Nodularis, Lichen Simplex Chronicus, Atopic Dermatitis, and Notalgia Paresthetica.

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Highly rated in

Northwest 14th Street Office

1295 Nw 14th St 
Miami, FL 

Gil Yosipovitch is a Dermatologist in Miami, Florida. Yosipovitch is rated as a Distinguished expert by MediFind in the treatment of Lichen Simplex Chronicus. He is also highly rated in 20 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Atopic Dermatitis, Prurigo Nodularis, Lichen Simplex Chronicus, and Stasis Dermatitis and Ulcers. He is licensed to treat patients in North Carolina, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Yosipovitch is currently accepting new patients.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Lichen Simplex Chronicus?

You can control LSC by reducing itch and controlling scratching. The condition may return or move to different areas on the skin.

What are the possible complications of Lichen Simplex Chronicus?

These complications of LSC can occur:

  • Bacterial and fungal skin infection
  • Permanent changes in skin color
  • Permanent scar
When should I contact a medical professional for Lichen Simplex Chronicus?

Call your provider if:

  • Symptoms get worse
  • You develop new symptoms, especially signs of skin infection such as pain, redness, drainage from the area, or fever
Lichen simplex chronicus on the ankle
Lichen simplex chronicus
Lichen simplex chronicus on the back
What are the latest Lichen Simplex Chronicus Clinical Trials?
Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of Abrocitinib for Reducing Pruritus in Adults With Prurigo Nodularis and Chronic Pruritus of Unknown Origin
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A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Phase 1 Single Dose Study to Assess the Safety, Pharmacokinetics, and Clinical Effect of CDX-0159 in Patients With Prurigo Nodularis
What are the Latest Advances for Lichen Simplex Chronicus?
Common Benign Chronic Vulvar Disorders.
Dupilumab in prurigo nodularis: a systematic review of current evidence and analysis of predictive factors to response.
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An intriguing case of lichen simplex chronicus in an elderly sub-Saharan African with longstanding scabies and sensory neuropathy.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: November 10, 2020
Published By: Ramin Fathi, MD, FAAD, Director, Phoenix Surgical Dermatology Group, Phoenix, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Dinulos JGH. Eczema and hand dermatitis. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 3.

Patterson JW. The psoriasiform reaction pattern. In: Patterson JW, ed. Weedon's Skin Pathology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Limited; 2021:chap 5.

Renzi M, Sommer LL, Baker DJ. Lichen simplex chronicus. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson IH, eds. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier, 2018:chap 137.

Zug KA. Eczema. In: Habif TP, Dinulos JGH, Chapman MS, Zug KA, eds. Skin Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 2.