Lichen Simplex Chronicus


It’s not uncommon to occasionally have itchy skin. However, chronic itching could be a sign of a skin condition. Scratching and itching your skin can be a by-product of Lichen Simplex Chronicus or LSC. While more common in adults, it can happen to children as well.

What is Lichen Simplex Chronicus?

Lichen Simplex Chronicus (LSC) is hyperpigmentation and lichenified plaque aggravated by frequent rubbing of the skin area. LSC is an area of thickened skin, also known as lichenification, caused by constant rubbing, scratching, and itching of the skin. Individuals who have dermatitis and psoriasis are more prone to getting LSC.

LSC is chronic dermatitis that is worsened because of the itch-scratch cycle, which can be a vicious cycle that can lead to more severe symptoms.

This skin condition is characterized by dry, scaly, and hyperpigmented plaques, oval, irregular, or angular. It can show up on the arms, legs, neck, genitals, and upper body – these are all areas that can be easily reached.

LSC can appear in people prone to skin allergies, eczema or psoriasis, or people undergoing anxiety, depression, and nervousness. People with LSC complain of pruritus or itching, manifested by uncontrollable scratching of the same area.

Lichen Simplex Chronicus can begin with clothing that rubs and irritates the skin. Constant scratching causes the skin to thicken, and the thicker the skin gets, the itchier and scratchier it feels.

Here are the typical symptoms that come with LSC:

  • Chronic itching can be intense at times, especially in stressful situations
  • Raw areas of the affected area
  • Leathery skin texture
  • Skin lesion or plaque that is characterized by sharp borders
  • Skin scaling

How is Lichen Simplex Chronicus diagnosed?

Lichen Simplex Chronicus needs medical and clinical evaluation for proper diagnosis. Your doctor will examine by looking at your skin and asking if you have had chronic scratching in the past. A skin lesion biopsy might be done for more severe cases to confirm the diagnosis.

A referral to a dermatologist is highly recommended in this case because LSC requires a special diagnosis. There are cases when biopsies are needed to confirm the diagnosis and differentiate it from other potential conditions.

Common Treatments for Lichen Simplex Chronicus

The main symptom that needs to be treated with Lichen Simplex Chronicus is itching. There are several medications that you can use to get rid of the itch, and these include:

  • Numbing medicine
  • Steroid cream or lotion that can help calm the itching and irritation
  • Ointments that promote peeling, like lactic acid or salicylic acid can be applied to patches of thick skin

As an added precaution, your doctor might recommend using dressings to cover and protect the area to prevent it from getting worse. The dressing will typically be in place for at least one week.

Antihistamines can be prescribed to help with itching. There are instances when the itching is emotional, which can be alleviated by stress management, counseling, and therapy.

Our Locations

Find us on the map

Serving Patients in and around Palm Beach County

Palm Beach Dermatology has been serving patients in and around Palm Beach County for over twenty years, we are a full-service dermatology and dermatological surgery practice with special emphasis on the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer. All physicians in our group are Board Certified by The American Board of Dermatology and are Fellows of the American Academy of Dermatology. We invite you to visit us at Palm Beach Dermatology to find out why you can trust our skin care team.

  • "To My Wonderful Doctor! I just couldn’t wait 6 months to tell you what I think of you! You are friendly, kind, gentle, soft spoken and you don’t want to hurt me! You’re Special and …. YOU REALLY CARE!! Thank You For You!"
    Marilyn T.
  • "Dr. Muhart is truly a very caring and professional doctor. I have referred many friends, family members and co-workers to her office knowing they will get great care."
    Karen C.
  • "Dr. Lifshitz has an incredibly gentle bedside manner. He diagnoses issues with ease and offers possible ways to address them so the patient can make the best decision for him or herself. I know I am in great hands with Dr. Lifshitz."
    Ami S.
  • "The office team is very personable and friendly. When you walk in you feel like family. Brian is the best. I have been going to Brian for over 5 years and would never change. It is great to see him again and the staff. Absolutely wonderful!!"
  • "Dr. Kowalczyk and his staff are awesome! The office staff is both efficient and friendly. His exam is thorough. I will definitely be back!"
    Jenna J.
  • "As a longtime skin cancer patient I’m impressed with Dr. Kelley’s professionalism and follow-ups. She and her staff are all about results and patient satisfaction. Quite different from the other “Mohs Mills”!"
    Woody B.
  • "Dr. Fayne saw my daughter for her acne. He was great with her and explained everything so she could understand. We love the office staff too!"
    Kristen B.
  • "I have been seeing Dr. DiBacco going on 10 years. Truly, a great dermatologist. He cares and is very personable. He is detailed with his assessments and treatments. What more could you ask for except a great personality? Oh, and he has that too!"
    Alex M.
  • "Dr. Cohen makes you feel like part of his family. He is very thorough in his exams and keeps you informed during your dermatological office visits and any telephone follow-ups."
    Steven D.