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How Do You Stop Neurodermatitis From Spreading?

Neurodermatitis, also known as lichen simplex chronicus, is a dermatological condition that is characterized by an itchy patch of skin. The condition can basically be defined as an itch-scratch cycle condition that worsens with scratching. The affected skin area becomes leathery, thick and discolored due to continuous scratching, and the itch intensifies the more you scratch. Individuals with the condition experience symptoms such as intensified itching especially when one is stressed or anxious, and raw skin or scaling of affected skin area due to scratching. Adding to that, there is lichenification of skin whereby the plaque/patch of the affected skin is sharply distinguished from the rest of the healthy skin by a leathery, thickened texture, and raw skin or scaling of affected skin area due to scratching.[1]

How Do You Stop Neurodermatitis From Spreading?

How Do You Stop Neurodermatitis From Spreading?

The best way to stop neurodermatitis from becoming worse is by breaking the itch-scratch cycle of the condition. It is a difficult cycle to break, but if you adopt the right behavioral modifications, you’ll be on the right path to managing neurodermatitis. Here are a few tips you can embrace to help you get over the urge to scratch on the affected patches of skin:

  • Cover the affected skin areas to inhibit scratching. You can wear gloves if the skin on your hands is affected, bandage or dress it so as to protect your skin.
  • Trim your nails so that when you are scratching on the affected skin surface you don’t damage the skin.
  • Take antihistamines to induce sleep, thus avoid scratching while asleep. In addition to that, you will enjoy good quality sleep and don’t need to worry about waking up several times in the middle of the night to scratch.
  • Take short, warm baths, and you can use some colloidal oatmeal for a better itch relief effect. After taking a bath/showering, apply non-scented moisturizer, to keep your skin well-hydrated.
  • Apply topical corticosteroid creams or ointments to help ease the itch.
  • To soothe your skin and help relieve the itching effect, use a cool wet compressor, preferably prior to applying cream/ointment. This is because it helps the skin soak in the cream much better.
  • Take stress management classes, or otherwise, take antidepressants and engage in relaxation exercises to help keep you calm.
  • Keep tabs of situations that lead to itching effect thus scratching. Knowing your triggers will help you avoid them, and you can prevent neurodermatitis from getting worse.[2] [4]

Possible Complications Of Neurodermatitis

Neurodermatitis can lead to several complications from the itching and scratching cycle, which is the main trait of the condition. One of the possible complications of neurodermatitis is hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation of the skin. This is as a result of the constant scratching of the condition, which causes the skin to discolor, thicken and have a leathery texture. Scratching can also lead to skin breakage, which opens up the skin to infections. So, if the skin breaks and becomes exposed, one can easily contract an infection, which could lead to more serious health conditions. Also, lichen simplex chronicus can lead to scar formation on the affected skin area due to scratching thus scarring of the skin. Other than that, the itching urge of the condition is usually persistent to the point that it affects one’s sleeping pattern and diminishes their quality of life including sexual function.[3] [4]


Neurodermatitis can only be prevented by breaking the itch-scratch cycle, which is the major trait of the condition. There are various approaches you can try to break the cycle, but the best is that which helps alleviate the itch and at the same time correct the plaque of lichenified skin, which is as a result of constant scratching. Generally speaking, neurodermatitis does not spread across the skin surface, but one may have several patches of additional skin. What happens is that as you continue scratching the affected skin area, the skin becomes thicker, discolored and leathery. Adopting some of the aforementioned tips to prevent scratching can help in improving the condition.


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Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 8, 2021

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