Neurodermatitis is a condition of the skin which makes it inflamed and severely itchy and scratching makes even more itchy. The itch-scratch cycle makes the affected area thick and leathery while the itchiness can spread to the forearm, neck, wrist, thigh, ankle and also the genital area such as the scrotum, vulva or anus. Adult women are more susceptible to this condition than men.
Neurodermatitis is also known as lichen simplex chronicus and it is not a contagious condition, but itching can become severe and recurrent that causes disruption in sleeping and quality of life. Itchiness is very severe that can come and go or can be persistent and the affected person can scratch out of habit and also while sleeping. Neurodermatitis can be related to other conditions such as psoriasis or it can be caused by tight clothing, insect bites or anything that can cause drying of the skin.
- A scaly or leathery texture on the affected areas
- An itchy patch or patches of skin
- A raised, rough patch that is red or darker in color than the rest of the skin.
- Wearing clothing that causes irritation of the skin such as wool and constricted or tight clothing
- Infections caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses
- Climatic conditions such as dry heating and low humidity
- Occupational irritants such as chemicals used by hairdressers
- Food allergies to cow’s milk, eggs, hazelnuts, soy, peanuts as well as house dust mites and pollen
- Avoid rubbing and scratching the affected area in order to prevent the condition from getting worse.
- Apply cool and moist compress to help soothe the skin and minimize the itchiness. Place a cool and moist compress on the affected area for a few minutes before applying a medicated cream to help it soak into the skin.
- Apply over-the-counter anti-itch creams or lotions on the affected area such as hydrocortisone cream to lessen the itchiness. Oral histamine can also be given to lessen the itchiness and allow the person to sleep.
- Cover the affected area using bandages or dressings in order to protect the skin and minimize scratching which is useful during sleep.
- Keep the nails short in order to help minimize damaging the skin, especially when scratching the skin while sleeping.
- Take cool bath in a bathtub and sprinkle it with baking soda, uncooked or colloidal oatmeal to lessen the itchiness of the skin. Use mild soap and avoid using soap that contains dyes or perfumes. After taking a bath, apply unscented moisturizers in order to help lubricate and protect the skin.
- Avoid wearing clothing that makes the skin itchy or use tight and rough clothing instead use smooth-textured cotton clothing which can help minimize the irritation on the skin.