Lichen simplex chronicus


Lichen simplex chronicus is a skin condition caused by chronic itching and scratching.


This disorder may occur in people who have:

The problem is common in children, who cannot stop scratching insect bites and other itchy skin conditions. It is also found in children who have chronic repetitive movements.


This skin disorder leads to scratching which in turn causes more itching.

Symptoms include:

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider will look at your skin and ask if you have had chronic itching and scratching in the past. A skin lesion biopsy may be done to confirm the diagnosis.


The main treatment is to stop scratching the skin. You may have:

You may need to use the following medicines on your skin:

You many need to use dressings that moisturize, cover, and protect the area. These may be used with or without medicated creams. They are left in place for a week or more at a time.

You may need take medicines by mouth to control itching and stress such as:

Steroids may be injected directly into the skin patches areas to reduce itching and irritation.

You may need to take antidepressants and tranquilizers to treat emotional causes for the problem.

Outlook (Prognosis)

You can control lichen simplex chronicus by taking steps to control scratching and reduce stress. The condition may return or move to different areas on the skin.

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if:


Habif TP. Ezcema and hand dermatitis. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 3.

Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds.Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 6.

Review Date: 11/20/2012
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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