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International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology

NEURODERMATITIS

Neurodermatitis is a term that is frequently used by dermatologists and patient alike.  It involves itching, redness, and lichenification of various parts of the body.  The concept for this type of eczema is vague, but some details of the disease, better termed lichen simplex chronicus, include:
  1. There are no primary lesions, with scratching, induced by itching, resulting in redness and thickening of the skin.
  2. Lichenification is a thickening of the skin, in response to repeated rubbing or scratching. The surface lines are accentuated (cross-hatched).
  3. Nerves, as in stress and anxiety, do not cause the condition; however, the patient may become irritable, when kept from sleeping by the incessant itching.

If the patient has an atopic history, that is a background of asthma or hay fever, the diagnosis is more likely to be atopic dermatitis.  When the dermatitis appears in round, coin-like patches, the term nummular dermatitis is used.

Neurodermatitis is treated by the use of topical steroids.  Soap should be limited to the critical areas:  hands, face, axillae, and groin.

Lawrence Charles Parish, MD, MD (Hon)
Philadelphia, PA, USA

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