There are many skin conditions that present as an itchy rash. While most people have heard of conditions like eczema or poison ivy rashes, conditions like neurodermatitis don't get as much attention. Here are four things you need to know about neurodermatitis.
What is neurodermatitis?
Neurodermatitis is a patch of itchy skin. The itch can't be relieved by scratching, which only makes the itch worse. The constant itching can make your skin become tough and thickened, or it can lead to open wounds that may become infected.
The itchy patches usually develop on the neck, elbows, or ankles, though any part of your skin can be affected.
Is it contagious?
This condition is not contagious since it is not caused by a bacteria, virus, or fungus, so you can reassure your friends and family that your neurodermatitis is nothing for them to worry about. It can be triggered by skin irritants like bug bites, dry skin, scratchy or tight-fitting clothing, allergens, or excessive heat. Your dermatologist will talk to you about potential triggers to try to find out why you developed neurodermatitis; finding out your triggers is important so that you can avoid them.
How common is it?
Neurodermatitis is a very common skin condition. It affects about 12% of the general population, and it is more common among women than among men.
How do dermatologists treat it?
There are many treatment options available for neurodermatitis. Medications like corticosteroids, which decrease inflammation, or antihistamines, which reduce allergic reactions, may be prescribed to help stop the itch. You may be given these medications in either pill or cream form. You may also be advised to use moisturizer to reduce dryness and itchiness.
If these treatments don't work, your dermatologist can try less-traditional treatments like Botox injections. You are probably familiar with Botox as a wrinkle reducer, but studies have shown that it can effectively treat the itch associated with neurodermatitis.
You may also be advised to avoid things that can trigger attacks of neurodermatitis, such as allergens, excess heat, or tight-fitting clothing. Stress and anxiety may also play a role for some people, and if that is the case for you, your dermatologist may recommend seeing your family doctor to get a prescription for anti-anxiety medication.
Neurodermatitis is an uncomfortable skin condition, but fortunately, it's not contagious and can be treated. If you think you have this condition, see your dermatologist right away for treatment.
For more information, contact a clinic such as Dermatology Associates.