Neurodermatitis is a benign skin condition characterized by long-lasting itching and irresistible scratching of patching skin. It is also termed as lichen simplex chronicus. The risk factors that can trigger neurodermatitis are skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, allergies and mental stress, nervousness or anxiety. It occurs usually in neck, genitals, arm, hands, thighs, and ankles. It affects women more than men between the ages of 20-50 years. It can be managed by anti-itch medicines, anti-depression drugs, local corticosteroid ointments, and counselling.
Is There a Cure for Neurodermatitis?
Neurodermatitis is curable, but it is difficult to treat it. Neurodermatitis is a condition of the skin that is marked by intense itchiness and skin lesions caused by chronic scratching. The principal treatment for neurodermatitis is to stop scratching. Treatment success mainly depends on resisting the irresistible urge to rub or scratch the affected area. It usually develops as itchy patches on the neck, forearm, wrist, thigh, genitals or ankles. The skin appears patchy and leathery in texture on the affected areas.
The involved skin is otherwise healthy, constant and chronic itching makes you scratch continuously. Itching is so intense that it can be nonstop. It can even disturb your sleep and you can go on scratching even in sleep. The long scratching deteriorates the quality of the skin and makes it scaly. This happens in patches. The skin is red, thick, scaly, patchy, and leathery in texture. It can also bleed and get infected if the scratching continuous. The more you scratch; more you will feel itchiness as it constantly irritates the skin.
The exact cause of neurodermatitis is not known. Skin ailments such as dry skin, eczema, psoriasis etc can affect the health of the skin and one can develop neurodermatitis. Anxiety, stress, and depression can trigger itching and scratching that can cause the condition.
The texture of the skin becomes leathery, thick, and scaly with boundaries on the affected areas of skin. Affected skin is raised, rough, red or darker than the rest of the skin. The affected areas can be painful and can bleed. The areas of skin that are affected by neurodermatitis are head, neck, wrist, forearm, ankle, vulva, scrotum or anus.
Neurodermatitis is diagnosed by evaluation of your medical history such as onset, duration, character, course, and quality of your skin by your physician. Doctor may ask you to have a biopsy of the affected skin to confirm the diagnosis and exclude other reasons.
Neurodermatitis can be cured, but it is hard to treat. It can return back. The following are the ways; your physician may adopt to manage your case-
Local Application- A lotion or cream containing corticosteroid is given for application on the affected areas to manage irritation and itching. Ointments that contain salicylic acid are advised to apply on the patches of thick skin to peel them off, soaps or lotions containing coal tar that can promote healing of the skin. He may ask you to moisturize, cover or protect the affected area with or without ointments, lotions or creams.
Medicines- Your physician will prescribe you medicines that you have to consume. These include Antihistamines and other oral medicines to control the pain, irritation, and itchiness of the skin.
Corticosteroid Injections-You may need steroid injections directly in the skin to manage them.
Antidepressants and Anti-anxiety Drugs- Some patients’ may require antidepressants and tranquilizers to end the emotional cause behind the disease. Anti-anxiety drugs can control stress and prevent the itching due to stress.
Phototherapy– direct exposure to certain types of light can treat neurodermatitis. It is also advised to keep the affected parts covered and protected.
Counseling- Counseling, stress management, and behavior modification may be required in certain cases. It is not a progressing disease so if you control scratching, your condition will improve.
Neurodermatitis is a chronic skin disease that can lead to persistent itching and irresistible scratching. The skin appears scaly, leathery and patchy with demarcated margins. There is a cure for neurodermatitis, but it is much difficult.
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