Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.
What is Lichenification?
This is a skin lesion that occurs on your body in an area of chronic irritation. When a person has this skin condition their skin thickens in response to the irritation. Lichenification is not a dangerous medical condition but it can be painful. If it is in a visible location if may attract attention that is unwanted. It is a very common disease and one that anyone of any age, gender, or race can get. It is not a permanent medical disorder but it will be there as long as you rub or scratch the affected area of skin.
Some of the symptoms of this medical condition can include:
- Skin that can become shiny and ooze or it could be scabby and dry if you lose too much water in your skin.
- Your skin may acquire a flaky or leathery look that will not disappear even when you have treatment.
- Burning sensation
- Red rashes on your skin
Many people who have lichenification suffer from an “itch-scratch” cycle. What this means is when their skin is irritated they start to pick and scratch at it causing their skin to defensively thicken against this cycle. When the skin thickens it does not break this cycle but usually leads to more itching and scratching.
Causes of Lichenification
A common reason for a person to develop lichenification is because of eczema but it can also arise in response to other skin conditions that are chronic. It can also appear as a result of rubbing and chafing. A person can develop lichenification of they have allergy problems or an auto-immune disorder. Having lichenification can also arise on what seems to be normal skin if you start to rub a cut, burn, pimple, scratch, patch of herpes simplex, etc.
Collection of pictures of Lichenification…
The main objective of treatment is to resolve this problem and break the cycle of “itch-scratch.” Treatment is done because if you have chronic lichenification it can lead to permanent changes in your skin. Getting treatment may be able to help stave off these permanent changes and to help resolve the irritation so you will feel more comfortable. Some of the treatments that are used can include:
- Taking medications, over-the-counter or prescription, to help relieve the itching sensation
- Taking sedatives to help you scratch less often
- Taking steroids to help reduce your body’s inflammatory response in order to allow your skin to return to normal
- At times the physician may have to bandage the site to make it harder for you to pick at it or scratch at it without realizing you are doing it
- Bandaging the site to help promote the absorption of any topical medications used
- Making lifestyle modifications to help promote healthier skin like eating a healthy diet and exercising