Lichen Simplex Chronicus

  • Danya Reich
  • Corinna Eleni Psomadakis
  • Bobby Buka


Lichen simplex chronicus is a secondary skin condition that occurs in response to severe pruritus, which drives an itch–scratch cycle. Individuals scratch the pruritic areas of the skin and cause them to become thickened, leathery plaques. The initial pruritus may be caused by atopy, or a number of underlying systemic illnesses such as renal or hepatic insufficiency, thyroid disorders, HIV, and lymphoma. Treating the underlying cause is an important element of treating lichen simplex chronicus. The symptoms may be addressed by use of topical corticosteroids or calcineurin inhibitors. Oral antihistamines may provide additional symptomatic relief.


Itch–scratch cycle Pruritus Neurodermatitis Leathery skin Lichenification Liver failure Renal failure Renal insufficiency Topical steroid Calcineurin inhibitor Pimecrolimus Tacrolimus Antihistamine 


  1. 1.
    Burgin S. Chapter 15. Nummular eczema, lichen simplex chronicus, and prurigo nodularis. In: Goldsmith LA, Katz SI, Gilchrest BA, Paller AS, Leffell DJ, Wolff K, editors. Fitzpatrick’s dermatology in general medicine. 8th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2012.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Aschoff R, Wozel G. Topical tacrolimus for the treatment of lichen simplex chronicus. J Dermatolog Treat. 2007;18(2):115–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Konuk N, Koca R, Atik L, Muhtar S, Atasoy N, Bostanci B. Psychopathology, depression and dissociative experiences in patients with lichen simplex chronicus. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2007;29(3):232–5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lynch PJ. Lichen simplex chronicus (atopic/neurodermatitis) of the anogenital region. Dermatol Ther. 2004;17(1):8–19.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Tan ES, Tan AS, Tey HL. Effective treatment of scrotal lichen simplex chronicus with 0.1% tacrolimus ointment: an observational study. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2014. doi: 10.1111/jdv.12500.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Goldstein AT, Parneix-Spake A, McCormick CL, Burrows LJ. Pimecrolimus cream 1% for treatment of vulvar lichen simplex chronicus: an open-label, preliminary trial. Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2007;64(4):180–6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Boyd K, Shea SM, Patterson JW. The role of capsaicin in dermatology. In: Abdel-Salam OME, editor. Capsaicin as a therapeutic molecule. Basel, Switzerland: Springer Basel; 2014. p. 293–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danya Reich
    • 1
  • Corinna Eleni Psomadakis
    • 2
  • Bobby Buka
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Family MedicineMount Sinai School of Medicine Attending Mount Sinai Doctors/Beth Israel Medical Group-WilliamsburgBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.School of Medicine Imperial College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of DermatologyMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations