Neurodermatitis is a form of eczema that develops when nerve endings in the skin become irritated, triggering a severe itch-scratch-itch cycle. The intensely itchy skin of neurodermatitis often causes reddish, rough plaques. With repeated scratching, white scratch marks appeared, and over time the skin thickens and darkens. Scratching diminishes the skins protective pH, which increases vulnerability to additional skin irritation and damage.
Another name for neurodermatitis is “lichen simplex chronicus” because the condition often lasts a long time (chronic) and repeated scratching causes the skin to thicken and darken (lichenification).
Signs and Symptoms
● Intensely itchy skin that is usually itchiest when resting or relaxing. Once the skin is scratched, a vicious itch-scratch-itch cycle develops. The more the skin is scratched, rubbed, or even touched, the more it itches. The itch can become so intense that it disrupts sleep.
● Neurodermatitis develops on any area of the body the person can scratch or rub. Most commonly appears on the lower legs, ankles, back and sides of the neck, wrists, forearms, and genitals.
● Neurodermatitis often develops on skin previously affected by an outbreak of atopic dermatitis or contact dermatitis (two common types of eczema) or psoriasis.
● Affected skin may turn pink, red, or reddish brown. When the skin becomes very thick, it sometimes develops a grayish hue.
● Constant itch can contribute to nervous tension (anxiety)
Scratching Can Cause:
Small, well-defined, scaly, reddish plaques and visible scratch marks. Openings in the skin that can cause burning pain and susceptibility to infection.
Neurodermatitis develops more frequently in people who have psoriasis, allergic contact dermatitis, or irritant contact dermatitis, and individuals who have an atopic condition, such as atopic dermatitis, asthma, or hay fever. Neurodermatitis also develops more frequently in women between 30 and 50 years of age.
The treatment goals for neurodermatitis are to hydrate the skin, decrease skin damage, reduce inflammation, decrease the risk of infection, and alleviate the itchy rash.
Above Information Sourced from: The American Academy of Dermatology
Treatment and Recurrence
Breaking the itch-scratch cycle is fundamental to the treatment of neurodermatitis: lichen simplex chronicus. Topical corticosteroid medication (applied to the skin) is first line treatment for the management of neurodermatitis.
However, topical corticosteroids are not used long term because of adverse side effects such as irritation, dryness, skin atrophy (thinning), striae (stretch marks), telangiectasia, folliculitis, acne, purpura (bruising), and allergic contact dermatitis. Additionally, topical corticosteroids can inhibit the skin’s ability to fight against bacterial or fungal infections. Yet, neurodermatitis patients often experience recurrence which contributes to dependency on steroid creams.
Maállo is a therapeutic ointment for use after corticosteroid medication. As a daily maintenance therapeutic Maállo supports the skins protective ph (acid mantle) and the structure/function of the skin to lessen inflammatory stimulus and reduce dependency on topical corticosteroids. To learn more about Maállo click here.
DISCLAIMER: Kátha Soma does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information provided is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.