Neurodermatitis is a skin condition that starts with an itch. This itch can develop on any surface in the body. In most instances, an itchy patch develops on the leg, arm or back part of the neck. It also develops in the genital and anal areas. If it develops in the genital region, it often arises on the vulva or scrotum.
In most cases, the itch can be intense that the individual scratches or rubs the itchy patch frequently. This itchiness can also come and go. For many individuals, the area becomes intensely itchy while relaxing or sleeping. The itch also causes the individual to scratch or rub the area while asleep or even awaken one from a peaceful sleep.
What are the indications of neurodermatitis?
If an individual has neurodermatitis, the individual will notice these indications:
- Itchiness – 1-2 patches of itchy skin develop that causes the individual to scratch or rub the area. These patches become intensely itchy while the individual is resting and if he/she is stressed out.
- Pain – some individuals experience pain especially if the patches develop on the scalp.
- Elevated, rough patch that is reddish to violet in color – this occurs if the patches are continuously scratched or rubbed.
- Leathery skin – due to frequent rubbing or scratching, the skin thickens. The patch might appear leathery and turn brownish while very thick skin turns into a grayish hue.
- Hair loss – scratching can result to hair loss especially in the scalp.
- Open sores that are bleeding – continuous scratching can damage the skin which leads to a bleeding open sore. This increases the risk for infection.
- Scarring – for deep wounds, the skin might scar as it heals.
- Infection – the indications of infection include drainage and honey-colored crusts or even bumps filled with pus.
The doctor will come up with a treatment plan based on the needs of the individual. The objective of treatment is to stop the scratching and touching the itchy patch. There are various treatment options available which includes the following:
- Corticosteroids – this medication is applied on the area as directed. Oftentimes, it is injected directly into the itchy area to minimize the swelling, redness, warmth, tenderness and itchiness.
- Cool compress – apply a cool compress or soak the area for 5 minutes before a corticosteroid is applied to allow the medication to penetrate easily and minimize the itchiness.
- Antihistamines work by reducing the itchiness and helps the individual sleep.
- Moisturizers work by minimizing the dryness to cut down the itchy sensation.
- Coal tar preparations can be applied on the skin or added to the bath.
- Capsaicin cream can be applied to reduce the itchiness.
The area with the itchy patches should be covered at night time to prevent scratching while asleep. In addition, covering the area will also allow the medication to penetrate thick skin.