Lichen simplex chronicus
Lichen simplex chronicus (LSC) is a skin condition caused by chronic itching and scratching.
LSC; Neurodermatitis circumscripta; Eczema - lichen simplex chronicus; Atopic dermatitis - lichen simplex chronicus; Psoriasis - lichen simplex chronicus
LSC may occur in people who have:
The problem is common in children, who cannot stop scratching insect bites and other itchy skin conditions. It also occurs in children who have chronic repetitive movements.
LSC leads to scratching, which then causes more itching. It often follows this pattern:
Exams and Tests
Your health care provider will look at your skin and ask if you have had chronic itching and scratching in the past. A skin lesion biopsy may be done to confirm the diagnosis.
The main treatment is to reduce the itch.
You may need to use these medicines on your skin:
You many 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.
To control itching and stress you may need to take medicines by mouth, such as:
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:
You can control LSC by reducing itch and controlling scratching. The condition may return or move to different areas on the skin.
These complications of LSC can occur:
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your provider if:
Habif TP. Eczema and hand dermatitis. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology: A Color Guide to Diagnosis and Therapy. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 3.
Sommer LL, Millett CR, Baker DJ. Lichen simplex chronicus. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson I, eds. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 131.
Review Date: 10/24/2016
Reviewed By: David L. Swanson, MD, Vice Chair of Medical Dermatology, Associate Professor of Dermatology, Mayo Medical School, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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