What is Neurodermatitis?

Neurodermatitis is a type of skin condition that usually starts with patches of itchy skin that is made itchier if it is scratched.  Scratching cause it to become leathery and thick.

It normally appears on the ankle or thigh, or on the wrist, neck, or forearm but can also be present in anal and genital areas.  It is also called lichen simplex chronicus.  It isn’t contagious but it can be very intense and cause a disruption of sleep and life quality. Sometimes the itch is continuous while in other cases, the itch may come and go.

Neurodermatitis may be a symptom of an underlying condition such as eczema and psoriasis but, in most cases,  it only causes one or two itchy patches instead of being spread in several areas.

Neurodermatitis may be linked to level of stress hormone in the system that might trigger the symptoms or worsen them.

What are the Symptoms of Neurodermatitis?

The most common symptoms of neurodermatitis are patches of itchy skin, a leather-like texture that appears as thick skin, and raised patches of skin that are reddish in tone or are darker than your normal skin tone. The itchiness might be non-stop or it may come and go.  Some people scratch in their sleep.

How is Neurodermatitis Treated?

There are two ways that neurodermatitis can be treated.  One form of treatment involves controlling the itching. The other form of treatment involves treating whatever the underlying cause might be.

Corticosteroid injects might be injected into the skin to help it heal. Anti-inflammatory medicated creams (either prescribed or over-the-counter) can help control the itch. Prescription antihistamines may also help minimize itching.  Light therapy has also been helpful in some case.

Sometimes neurodermatitis is triggered by anxiety. If this is the case, anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed. Psychotherapy can also be helpful if neurodermatitis is related to a mental health issue.

Studies are being conducted on Botox injections and Aspirin solutions. At this time more research is needed but some studies have reported these treatments as being successful.

Last Reviewed:
October 10, 2016
Last Updated:
August 10, 2017