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How Does Neurodermatitis Affect The Body & What Triggers It?

How Does Neurodermatitis Affect The Body?

Lichen simplex chronicus which is also the other name for the neuro dermatitis is a disorder characterized by intense itching as the predominant manifestation. Other symptoms include scratching, skin thickening, hyperpigmentation of the affected area, and sometimes redness if scratched excessively at the accessible parts of the body like arms, legs, genitals, trunk, etc. The thickening of the skin caused by the body to cover up the damage of rubbing and scratching is known as lichenification. Eczema and white powdery scales can be seen falling from the lesions when crusting becomes excessive enough.

The development of thick scales and plaques is present on nature of neck, extensor surfaces of forearm, genitals and groin region. The plaques are characterized by maximal thickening at the center and lesser thickening at the periphery of the lesion. Inadvertent itching and rubbing can also cause discontinuation of the skin and ulcer formation. Bleeding and blister formation may follow after the ulcer formation progresses to the next stage.

How Does Neurodermatitis Affect The Body?

The patients suffering from lichen simplex chronicus are more vulnerable to many systemic complications like coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, etc. Decreased libido, sexual problems, and erectile dysfunction are also some of the other genital complications of neuro dermatitis.[1] Although no case has been reported to date to die of neurodermatitis, it may increase morbidity.

It is necessary to differentiate it with other skin problems presenting with similar psoriasis, lichen planus, acanthosis nigricans, etc.

What Triggers Neurodermatitis?

Most of the cases of neuro dermatitis are of unknown origin that is they are of idiopathic nature. Allergy to various environmental and mechanical antigens has been found to have an established connection with the neurodermatitis. It occurs due to, hyperactive immune response of the body to a normal antigen due to some genetic factors different in each individual. Psychological causes are also predominantly found to be associated with neurodermatitis like stress, anxiety, tension, obsessive compulsion, teenage problems, mood swings, etc.

Insect bites, scars, xerosis, bite marks, etc. are also some other known causes for triggers of neuro dermatitis. Some heavy metals exposure and lithium, in particular, has been found to be related to its cause in a small number of cases. Venous insufficiency, pressure bandaging, peripheral neuropathies are also known to cause, Persons working in industries with occupational hazard of exposure to the irritant chemicals can also suffer from similar symptoms.

Paraphenylenediamine dye found in hair dyes has been associated with an increase in the incidence of the disease in the age group using them for hair coloring. Automobile exhaust and poisonous gases when known with long term exposure are also known to increase the skin related problems especially in children including lichen simplex chronicus.

Constant rubbing of clothes at a particular site, repeated trauma at the same site are some other trigger factors for it. Diabetic and other metabolic diseases associated with skin thickening can also progress to the chronic stage. The infections of the skin like fungal, bacterial, viral, etc. do not trigger the stimulus responsible for lichen simplex chronicus because it is a non-infectious disease. It is a non-communicable disease.


Lichen simplex chronicus is mainly affecting the skin that too at accessible parts of the body because the stimulus is required for its development which can be provided by constant rubbing or contact possible only at areas where hands of the patient can reach. They affect other systems also due to the immune reaction generated by it and can cause even dangerous or long term systemic complications resulting in increased morbidity.

Although it is a curable disease importantly the triggers are to be removed so as to have a full and healthy recovery of the patient. Habit modification and behavioral therapy are followed. Providing the mechanical barrier for preventing the scratching habit is an effective method in the treatment of neurodermatitis.


Also Read:

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:August 1, 2019

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