Also known as neurodermatitis, this condition is caused by a chronic cycle of itching and scratching an area of skin that progressively becomes rough or leathery. Overtime, the skin takes on the appearance of elephant hide because of its thickening and accentuated lines. While it is not dangerous, lichen simplex chronicus can be a difficult cycle to break because of the severity of the itchiness and the desire to scratch the region. It can occur anywhere on the skin, but is most commonly found on the ankles, neck, wrist, forearms, thighs, lower leg, behind the knee or on the inner elbow. It may also be associated with other skin conditions, such as dry skin, eczema or psoriasis.

Lichen simplex chronicus occurs more frequently among women than men and generally appears in people between the ages of 30 and 50. If you are unable to break a scratch and itch cycle somewhere on your skin or if the skin becomes painful, bleeds or seems to be infected, contact a skin specialist. Treatments include wet dressings, moisturizers, topical steroids, injected steroids, liquid nitrogen, antihistamines and antibiotics (if infected).