It is fairly normal for anyone to experience discomfort in his or her own skin. No matter what poems and self-help books profess about the need for being comfortable in your own skin, certain skin conditions make it an impossible task in reality.
Neurodermatitis is one such condition. It is also one of those skin conditions that come with a label saying they are less harmful than they actually are in reality. Sometimes related to the skin condition eczema, neurodermatitis causes itching, irritation, and inflammation of a particular region of the skin (1).
It is fairly simple to identify. What starts as a simple itch on one spot on your skin, if scratched at constantly, leads to skin thickening and darkening. It may even lead to the skin gaining a leathery, unpleasant look.
It gets its name from being a neurological skin disorder, meaning that it is a result of irritation at nerve endings (2). The term dermatitis is generally used for any skin condition that results in inflammation. The more scientific term used by doctors to identify this condition is lichen simplex chronicus.
Is Neurodermatitis contagious?
Similar to other forms of eczema which cause itching, redness, and inflammation, neurodermatitis is not contagious. It is also neither life-threatening nor dangerous.
However, it spurs the incessant need to itch at the spot all the time. This is the main reason why neurodermatitis gets its characteristic leathery, thickened look. The level to which any treatment works on this condition is based on how far you are able to resist the urge to itch.
Although similar to one another, neurodermatitis and atopic dermatitis (also called eczema) have two major differences. Firstly, while atopic dermatitis affects the area as a whole and spreads the redness, neurodermatitis is capable of being spot-specific, leaving the surrounding skin looking normal (3).
Secondly, while atopic dermatitis is witnessed more in children and infants, neurodermatitis only tends to show up in the middle-aged demographic (4). Some doctors attribute this to the trigger of stress in everyday life, which may influence the condition seeing that the nervous system is involved.
Is Neurodermatitis curable?
It is an unfortunate but inevitable fact that neurodermatitis is a type of skin condition that is incurable. Although the exact cause for the disease has not been identified, many triggers for the condition have been studied.
Most causes are seen to affect the nervous system in some way, which triggers the skin condition. One such example would be causing unnecessary friction against the skin by wearing clothes that are too tight for too long. This has chances of damaging the nerves on the surface of the skin, thereby increasing the chances of triggering neurodermatitis.
Furthermore, unnecessary exposure to heat or harsh detergents or soaps that may contain allergens can trigger neurodermatitis, Insect bites are also a well-known reasons for random appearances of this skin condition.
How long does Neurodermatitis last?
Neurodermatitis is one of those skin conditions which has no specific time period to refer to, in terms of healing. The main criterion to be fulfilled in order for healing to take place is that the person must refrain from itching. And asking anyone who has suffered from neurodermatitis will let you know how difficult that can be.
Itching being the main trait of the skin condition, it is the cause for all the other symptoms that follow, such as the skin darkening in color and getting a leathery look. Experts often refer to this as a vicious itch-and-scratch cycle, and the way to treat this is to break the incessant cycle.
More than anything, this can test the patience and willpower of the patients. Many people who suffer from this condition complain of frustration and stress caused either due to the itching or from their continued efforts not to do so.
Based on the general opinion of doctors and patients, the best solution found so far for neurodermatitis have been topical creams that can alleviate itching and lighten the skin, returning it to its previous condition.
These have to be prescribed by doctors to ensure that the ingredients do not clash with any personal allergies that the patient might have. Many over-the-counter products are known to work, but safety against allergic reactions may be the only concern.
Doctors and dermatologists, in general, do not recommend going under the knife for such a skin condition since it is neither life-threatening nor dangerous.
What is Neurodermatitis Disseminata?
Neurodermatitis Disseminata is a skin condition that is caused when the nerve endings at the surface of the skin are irritated. It leads to itchiness, redness, and irritation of any particular area of skin. It increases as we scratch the area more. As a result, it is seen more commonly in places that can be reached easily, such the ankle, feet, wrist, arms, head, and neck.
How effective are natural treatments for Neurodermatitis?
Considering the fact that neurodermatitis is a skin condition which is persistent and is relatively harmless, natural treatments are often opted by patients. The most important guidance given for it is to stop scratching at it and to avoid the aforementioned triggers.
A simple way to do this would be to apply cool and wet compresses on the concerned areas. This is known to cool the area and reduce the urge to itch. Following this up by applying any prescribed medication may show better results. By simply covering the concerned areas, you can reduce the chances of scratching at it. However, the itchiness remains and this is capable of frustrating the patients and increasing stress.
However, most dermatologists still suggest that patients simple clean the area and follow moisturizing routines for a healthier skin. Neurodermatitis is a skin condition that can easily be battled with willpower and a positive attitude in general.
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