Encyclopedia Home / L / Lichen simplex chronicus

Lichen simplex chronicus

  • Symptoms

    This skin disorder leads to a scratch-itch cycle:

    • It may begin with something that rubs, irritates, or scratches the skin, such as clothing.
    • This causes the person to rub or scratch the affected area. Constant scratching causes the skin to thicken.
    • The thickened skin itches, causing more scratching, which causes more thickening.
    • The skin may become leathery and brownish in the affected area.

    Symptoms include:

    • Itching of the skin
      • May be long-term (chronic)
      • May be intense
      • Increases with nervous tension, stress
    • Skin lesion, patch, or plaque
      • Commonly located on the ankle, wrist, neck, rectum/anal area, forearms, thighs, lower leg, back of the knee, inner elbow
      • Exaggerated skin lines over the lesion
      • Distinct borders to the lesion
      • Becomes leathery in texture (lichenification)
      • Darkened (hyperpigmented) or reddened skin
      • Raw areas
      • Scratch marks
      • Scaling

    Signs and tests

    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.