What is lichen simplex chronicus?

What is lichen simplex chronicus?

Lichen Simplex Chronicus (LSC) is a very common and benign skin disorder that occurs due to constant rubbing and scratching of the skin. In many cases, the individuals are unaware that they are continuously rubbing/scratching the area; it becomes an unconscious habit.

 

What is Lichen Simplex Chronicus? (Definition/Background Information)

  • Lichen Simplex Chronicus (LSC) is a very common and benign skin disorder that occurs due to constant rubbing and scratching of the skin. In many cases, the individuals are unaware that they are continuously rubbing/scratching the area; it becomes an unconscious habit
  • Lichen Simplex Chronicus results in the formation of well-circumscribed plaques. The skin becomes thickened and leathery in the affected area, commonly the arms and legs, head and neck region
  • Untreated LSC can lead to bacterial or fungal secondary infections and cause severe emotional and psychological stress due to cosmetic issues. The therapy would involve modification of one’s behavior in order to discourage the individual from itching
  • Lichen Simplex Chronicus can be treated through a combination of topical applications and oral medications, along with proper skin care and maintenance of personal hygiene
  • The condition may not be preventable, but the prognosis of Lichen Simplex Chronicus is typically excellent with suitable treatment

 

Who gets Lichen Simplex Chronicus? (Age and Sex Distribution)

  • Lichen Simplex Chronicus is observed in individuals over 20 years of age. However, it can be noticed in a wide age range of individuals including children
  • Both male and female genders are affected, though a female predilection is observed
  • Individuals of all racial and ethnic groups may be affected
  • Generally, LSC is more frequently observed among the Asian population

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Causes 

  • Lichen Simplex Chronicus is the reaction of skin to constant physical trauma. In many cases, itching leads to chronic scratching or rubbing of the skin, which leads to LSC
  • LSC is described as a type of neurodermatitis. Neurodermatitis is any skin condition that can be caused by emotional disturbances such as stress, anxiety, and depression
  • It is a common, non-contagious, non-infectious condition. LSC does not spread from one individual to another through physical contact or sharing of items.

 

 

Signs and Symptoms 

The signs and symptoms of Lichen Simplex Chronicus may include the following:

  • The distinctive characteristic of LSC is chronic and continuous rubbing, itching, or scratching
  • The itch occurs in easily accessible areas (accessible to scratching), such as in the arms, legs, head and neck area, including in areas around the anus and genitalia
  • The skin may break, causing oozing, or raw skin appearance from intense scratching
  • This leads to skin thickening with the appearance of scales; long-term scratching causes thick, leather-like skin (lichenification)
  • Formation of well-circumscribed plaques; it can occur in multiple areas
  • The skin lesions may be single or multiple
  • It can cause hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation of skin
  • The plaques may range in size from 0.5-5.0 cm

 

Treatment

The main focus of Lichen Simplex Chronicus treatment involves treating the cause of underlying itching. The following measures may be used to address LSC:

  • Behavioral modification therapy and stress management
  • Taking proper skin care by avoiding the tendency to itch
  • Avoiding activities that can aggravate the condition; avoiding harsh soaps and detergents
  • Maintaining cleanliness as well as proper body hygiene
  • Use of moisturizing lotions to prevent the skin from drying
  • Use of topical steroidal creams and lotions
  • The administration of antihistamines, if itching is due to allergic causes
  • Antibiotics may be used to treat infections

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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