What is the pathophysiology of lichen simplex chronicus (LCS)?

Updated: Feb 15, 2019
  • Author: Jason Schoenfeld, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Lichen simplex chronicus is found on the skin in regions accessible to scratching. Pruritus provokes rubbing that produces clinical lesions, but the underlying pathophysiology is unknown. Some skin types are more prone to lichenification, such as skin that tends toward eczematous conditions (ie, atopic dermatitis, atopic diathesis). A relationship likely exists between central and peripheral neural tissue and inflammatory cell products in the perception of itch and ensuing changes in lichen simplex chronicus. Emotional tensions, such as in patients with anxiety, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, may play a key role in inducing a pruritic sensation, leading to scratching that can become self-perpetuating. [3, 4, 5, 6] The possible interplay among primary lesions, psychic factors, and the intensity of pruritus additively influence the extent and severity of lichen simplex chronicus.

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