What Is Lichenification – Proven Treatments and More (2021)


Lichenification is the thickening of the skin due to the continuous process of rubbing and scratching. As you continuously rub or scratch your skin, the cells in that area start to grow Causing a leathery effect to your skin. This Is what leads to Lichenification.

It can also lead to skin marks such as wrinkles, cracks, and even scales

It is also known as Lichen Simplex chronicus ( Neurodermatitis ).There are many causes for lichenification to occur. Some of the causes are

  • Compulsive behaviors like Rubbing and Scratching
  • The trauma of the Skin

Beginner’s Guide 

Lesions on the skin are divided into primary, secondary, and special. Lichenification comes under the category of secondary skin lesions. The basic characteristics of secondary skin lesions are

  • Thickening of the skin
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Skin notes and lines
  • Normal skin markings


Lichenification is classified into two types. The types of Lichenification are

  • Primary lichenification
  • Secondary Lichenification

Primary Lichenfication is also called neurodermatitis circumscripta. Secondary Lichenification occurs in dermatitis, psoriasis, xerosis, anxiety, vegetative growths, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

The lesions occur starting as hyperpigmentation and later develop small papules which are commonly known as pseudopapules

Since lichenification is mostly due to activities like chronic rubbing. It appears mostly in places like the wrist, neck, forearms, waist, and scrotum.

Secondary Lichenification may also occur in eyelids and popliteal fossae.

Diffuse Lichenification may occur in the face, neck, chest, arms, forearms which are characterized by the appearance of small papules, hyperpigmented patches

They are caused by  T-cell lymphoma and Sezary syndrome, mainly the folliculotropic type.

Chronic pruritus is a paraneoplastic phenomenon that necessitates screening in serious cases with a high suspicion of

  • Pancreatic carcinoma
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Insulinoma
  • Multiple myeloma

Symptoms of Lichenification

Symptoms of Lichenification
Symptoms of Lichenification

Itching and Rubbing becomes a non-stop activity in your life. You cant even help out by rubbing your hands even in sleep.

The most common symptoms are

  • Thick Skin
  • Leathery Skin
  • Scaly skin
  • Bark like Skin
  • Itchy patches of skin
  • Patches that are red in color
  • Patches that are dark in color


Lichenification makes you rub or scratch your skin continuously, in a way that you cant control. This act of continuous scratching leads to worse itchiness.

You need to also remember that the more you scratch the more your lichen simplex gets worse.

There are multiple causes for lichenification to occur. They are

  • eczema
  • bug bites
  • psoriasis
  • anxiety disorders
  • bug bites
  • atopic dermatitis

Individuals with lichen complex report intense itching during the nighttime.

Who is at Risk?

Lichenification occurs in all ages, sex and in races too. But the study shows that women get more affected than men. When it comes to age wise consideration old-aged and middle-aged are the most victims

There are some conditions that can lead to lichen simplex chronicus

  • Anxiety and Stress
  • Venous Insufficiency
  • Eczema

Self Care

  • Stop Scratching – This is one of the difficult things one cannot do who is affected by Lichenification. For this to be a success one has to cover the parts of itchiness with some cloth or cover. It is also beneficial if you use gloves for preventing it.
  • Use hydrocortisone cream – This self-care tip comes from the Over-the-counter method. This cream is used to reduce itchiness. Even the area of itching plays a vital role in diagnosing whether it is lichen simplex or not. For example – If the area of concern is your groin area it may be due to fungal infection rather than Lichen simplex. For Effective Treatment of Fungal Infection Read this Article – Keto B cream – Uses, Side Effects And Discover More ( 2021 )
  • If you come to see any cracks or breaks in your skin, try to use the best antibiotic ointments to prevent infection.


Usually, doctors prescribe more than one treatment for lichenification which depends on the causes mentioned above.

Some types are

  • Home care
  • Speaking with Therapist
  • Over-the-Counter medications

When it comes to homecare there are many ways for treatment, these includes

  • Cut your nails short and blunt
  • oatmeal baths
  • Reduction of Stress
  • Use cool Compressors
  • Wear gloves

The person also use over-the-counter methods like using moisturizers which is one of the easy treatments for lichenification

Some medications that can help are :

  • fluticasone propionate creams
  • antihistamine creams or pills
  • antianxiety medications

Psychotherapy or light therapy are also recommended by doctors which solely depends on the causes and the doctor who prescribes

Is it Compulsory to Seek a Doctor?

We would advise you to first try out the self-care measures before seeking a doctor. If self-care is not worth reducing the symptoms it is better you seek the doctor for help.

How usually doctors diagnose Lichen simplex

Doctors use different methods to confirm the presence of Lichen simplex. He may perform a skin biopsy for the confirmation of the Lichen simplex. The procedure may involve the following

  1. The doctor may numb the skin with an injectable anesthetic
  2. he then samples the skin using a razor blade or a scalpel. This is called a punch biopsy.
  3. Then the sample of the skin now goes for an examination under a microscope by a specially trained physician

This procedure may help you to confirm whether the underlying cause for itching is Lichen Simplex or any other Fungal Diseases.

If it is Lichen Simplex, You can follow the Self-care guide and at the same time follow the prescription of the doctor. Doctor may suggest

  • Usage of Oral anti-histamines
  • Corticosteroid creams
  • Using Ultraviolet light therapy
  • Usage of creams that has urea or salicylic acid
  • Doxepin cream
  • capsaicin cream

What is Lichenification and Lichen chronicus

Lichenification is the hardening of the skin layer due to repeated rubbing and scratching. Lichen chronicus is the medical term used to describe it

Trusted Article

 MedlinePlus: ItchingClinical Information

Frequently asked Questions

Is Lichenification Contagious?

The simple answer is No. So it is not a big issue for others. But it can disturb your sleep, sexual activity, and quality of life

Is Lichen Simplex Curable?

Yes, lichen simplex is curable with the medications and treatments mentioned above. But it can again occur if the medications are stopped in the middle

Which is the best cream for Lichenification?

The common treatment for lichenification is steroid creams and ointment.

Is coconut oil good for Lichen sclerosis?

For patients who have sclerosis, coconut oil can give them relief for a temporary period of time. Applying labia two times a day is also good


  • Bolognia, Jean L., ed. Dermatology, pp.117-118. New York: Mosby, 2003.
  • Lavery MJ, Stull C, Kinney MO, Yosipovitch G. Nocturnal Pruritus: 
  • Freedberg, Irwin M., ed. Fitzpatrick’s Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th ed, pp.1196-1197. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003
  • Folliculotropic Mycosis Fungoides: Clinical and Histologic Features in Five Patients.


Lichenification is one of the irritating skin diseases because it causes a lot of itching and Makes your skin hard. The main thing that you need to keep in mind is all about scratching is going to make it still worse.

You should also know that It is a curable one and its causes are temporary. Reduce your stress levels for better Results.

Thank you and this is Aashique (AR ) and a socialshare may be Fabulous for me 🙂

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