Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Neurodermatitis

It is important to keep in mind that scratching can lead to wounds, bacterial skin infections, permanent scarring, and changes in skin tone if it goes on for long periods of time.

The itch-scratch cycle might lead to a long-term problem.

With that, this article lays out the causes, symptoms, and treatment of neurodermatitis.

What is neurodermatitis?

Neurodermatitis is a condition that involves itching and scratching on one or two regions of the skin.

The disease affects only one or two patches of skin.

The itch is most common on the arms, shoulders, elbows, thighs, ankles, wrists, hands, back of the neck, and scalp.

A strong itching might cause constant scratching and the condition is most active while the patient is sleeping or attempting to sleep.

When patients initially wake up, they may itch or rub the affected area.

Causes of Neurodermatitis

Neurodermatitis’ underlying cause is presently unknown.

Even stress, worry, emotional trauma, or sorrow have been linked to an itchy sensation in the past; it is not known why this happens.

Even when the emotional stress has passed, the itching may continue for several hours.

Here is a list of possible triggers:

  • Nerve injury and atopic dermatitis are two more possible neurodermatitis triggers.
  • Getting bit by an insect is a common occurrence.
  • Skin that has become dehydrated.
  • A synthetic textile, such as polyester or rayon, might create discomfort if the clothing is overly tight. When these factors come together, sensitive skin can become overreactive and itch.
  • Eczema and psoriasis can cause neurodermatitis. It is best to consult a doctor and not self-diagnose.

Neurodermatitis patches tend to be thicker than the rest of the skin, which indicates that the condition is more pronounced.

In some cases, the itching can become unbearable due to the heavy scales.

Scratching the blemishes over and over again may cause the skin to bleed at times.

What Neurodermatitis Looks Like

Closeup photo of Neurodermatitis

Irritating blotches of skin are 3 to 10 cm in diameter and can range in size from 3 to 6 cm in diameter.

The spots may appear:

  • Dried
  • Thick
  • Scaly
  • Leathery
  • Reddish, brownish, yellowish, gray, or purple in color.

The center of older patches may be white or light, with darker hues surrounding it.

Scarring may develop over time. For some people, scratching might aggravate the irritation and lead to even more scratching.

Who is most likely to get neurodermatitis?

Happy mother and daughter embracing in the couch

An estimated 12% of people suffer from neurodermatitis, according to current estimates.

There is a higher risk of developing the disease in those between the ages of 30 and 50, according to research.

Anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and family history of other skin diseases, such as contact dermatitis, are risk factors for neurodermatitis.

Women and people with contact dermatitis or atopic dermatitis are more likely than others to suffer from neurodermatitis.

Though neurodermatitis is uncommon in children with atopic dermatitis, the condition can occur in some of those who already have the disease.

How is neurodermatitis diagnosed?

Close up photo of skin allergy test

The irritated area will be examined by a dermatologist.

To begin, the doctor will rule out more serious illnesses like eczema or psoriasis that affect the skin.

The following procedures may be performed:

  • Skin swab tests are used to determine if an infection is present.
  • To determine if allergies are causing the itching, a patch test is performed.
  • Tests for fungal infections
  • biopsy
  • Tests for a variety of bodily fluids.

Neurodermatitis Treatment

Female applying cream to her arm treating her Neurodermatitis

Treatment for neurodermatitis is focused on relieving itchiness and restoring normal skin functions.

The following treatments may be prescribed by your doctor:

  • Corticosteroids can alleviate inflammation, irritation, and thickened skin. For really thick skins, steroid injections may be required.
  • Numbing lotion and chili pepper extracts are two other options for irritated nerves.
  • Oral medications, given at night, can help alleviate itching.
  • Antihistamines and low-dose anti-anxiety medications may also be prescribed when deemed necessary.

Other forms of treatment may include yoga and mindfulness-based exercises like meditation can help minimize scratching.

When to Seek Help

Skin Cancer Specialists Dermatology logo

Untreated neurodermatitis seldom improves. Dermatologists devise innovative treatment plans.

You can’t sleep or concentrate on your everyday tasks because of the itching and this may influence your overall productivity.

If you find yourself scratching the same area of skin over and over, you should see a doctor or visit Skin Cancer Specialists in Texas.

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