Everyone has faced skin issues at some point in life. Being the largest organ of the human body, the skin bears lots of turmoil to protect our body from pain, extreme heat or cold, etc. This blog shall discuss one such skin issue, called neurodermatitis. Covering all the details about it, effective neurodermatitis treatment will also be suggested. Read till the end to learn it all.
What is neurodermatitis?
Neurodermatitis (also known as lichen simplex chronicus) is a skin condition often characterized by a constant urge to itch and scratch the skin. Scratching aggravates the itching. This further causes the skin to thicken and turn leather-like. As the cycle of itching and scratching continues, the problem may become chronic. Adults aged 30 to 50 are most commonly afflicted by neurodermatitis, and women are more likely than males to have it. Also, people with mental disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, are more likely to develop this condition.
What does neurodermatitis look like?
The skin usually has patches all over it, giving it a scaly or leathery appearance. The patches are often differently coloured, such as purple, greyish or reddish. If left untreated for a long time, permanent scarring or discoloration of the skin may occur.
What causes neurodermatitis?
Any exact cause of neurodermatitis is unknown. Anything which irritates the skin, like tight clothes or an insect bite, may cause it to flare up. Itches increase in intensity as you scratch. However, a few factors may act as triggers for this condition, such as:
- Extreme stress and poor mental health.
- Some sort of nerve injury.
- Suffering from other skin conditions such as dermatitis, psoriasis, etc.
What are the symptoms of neurodermatitis?
The commonly observed symptoms of neurodermatitis are as follows:
- A red or darker-coloured than that of the majority of your skin elevated, rough spots or patches
- Pain and itchy feeling in the affected areas.
- Loss of hair, if the itching and scratching take place on the scalp skin.
- Discoloration or wrinkling of the skin in the affected region.
- Leather-like skin texture.
What tests can be used to diagnose neurodermatitis?
A thorough physical examination and the collection of the patient’s history of severe itching and scratching are typically required for the diagnosis. Skin scraping, a treatment that involves removing and examining the outer, old layers of one’s skin, can help rule out other possible diagnoses, including fungal infection. To confirm the diagnosis of neurodermatitis, a specimen of skin is extracted and a biopsy is conducted.
Treatment options available for neurodermatitis
Despite not being a life-threatening condition, neurodermatitis needs medical attention to heal. Some of the effective neurodermatitis treatment options are:
- Medications: The doctor may prescribe topical ointments or neurodermatitis treatment cream to heal irritated and damaged skin. Corticosteroid injections are another option to manage skin damage. If mental disorders have given rise to neurodermatitis, the doctor will prescribe medications for those too.
- Light therapy: It’s a technique where the affected skin is exposed to certain types of UV light, accelerating the healing process.
- Covering the area: Occlusive therapies that cover the affected area can help lessen irritation and reduce scratching. An occlusive technique to therapy can involve covering gauze with zinc oxide paste after applying topicals, moisturisers, or plastic wrap.
Self-care measures to manage neurodermatitis
Some measures at home can help one tackle neurodermatitis to a great extent. And those neurodermatitis home remedies are:
- Cooling Lotions: Applying lotions containing menthol or camphor helps to soothe the irritated area.
- Using a wet cloth: Apply a wet cloth on the affected area to calm down the irritation and reduce the urge to scratch.
- Self-control: The key to preventing conditions from aggravating is to not scratch the area further. It’s difficult to stop the urge but necessary to heal.
- Protect the afflicted area: Dressings or bandages can shield the skin and stop rubbing. These might be particularly helpful if you itch when you sleep.
- Trim your nails regularly: If you tend to scratch when you sleep, having short nails may help in protecting the itching area.
What can you do to promote healing if you have neurodermatitis?
Healing of neurodermatitis begins once the patient stops scratching the skin frequently. And in order to do that, one could use various medications, moisturisers, bandages, etc. Moreover, a healthy neurodermatitis treatment diet and good sleep are necessary to accelerate the healing process.
It can be annoying and frustrating to have neurodermatitis. It’s time to get a diagnosis from a dermatologist or physician if a person has dry, irritated skin. An effective management plan can assist to control neurodermatitis and perhaps stop future flare-ups. Are you planning to seek neurodermatitis treatment now? Ayu Health Hospital has the best dermatology facilities with proper patient care. Call 636-610-0800 to book an appointment or to know more.
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About the Author
Dr. S. Goel
Dr. S. Goel is a renowned Internal Medicine Specialist currently practicing at Ayu Health Hospital, Bangalore. He is a Specialist in Internal Medicine, Diabetes HTN, Paediatric Care, and Family Medicine.