Man laying inside photo therapy chamber receiving treatment for skin condition

Constant Itching Which Has Led to Lichenification

"There are many who don't wish to sleep for fear of nightmares. Sadly, there are many who don't wish to wake for the same fear." ― Richelle Goodrich

If anyone has had eczema from an early age, they may be familiar with a side effect that can occur later on in life known as lichenification. It is brought about by excessive scratching, which, over time, causes the affected area to thicken and become scaly and wrinkly. I have had eczema since age two, and I am now 44 years old.

Avoiding the itch-scratch cycle isn't easy

My skin is extremely itchy, and it drives me nuts trying to manage and avoid the itch-scratch cycle. Living with this condition is like being in a constant nightmare. Currently, my skin is at this stage, and it is incredibly hard to treat. The most affected areas are in my joints, inside my elbows, knees, wrists, and neck. And it is even developing around my eyes which is the worst place for me.

How is lichenification treated?

There are a number of traditional medications on the market that can help with this problem but, personally speaking, I have not found anything that helps with this long-term. The best thing I use is Epaderm. It is a thick, waxy substance that helps lock in moisture. Other meds used to treat lichenification are steroid ointments and creams, antihistamines, anti-anxiety pills, and phototherapy.

Treatments don't get to the root of the itching

Phototherapy is a second-line course of treatment that is offered to patients in the UK when all other treatments have failed. All these treatments can help a little, but I do not think they get to the root cause of the problem. And that problem is the fact that we are itchy in the first place.

Minimizing the risk of itching

Other things one can do to minimize the risk of itching are:

  • Storing your moisturizers in a cool place
  • Keeping nails cut short
  • Make sure the temperature in your home is low
  • Try to avoid stressful situations
  • Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet

Will my phototherapy treatment help?

Right now, I am into my 4th session of UVB light therapy. I will be on this treatment for 30 weeks. Although I am a little excited about trying a completely new treatment, I am also very skeptical about its efficacy. It is probably because everything I have tried in my life so far has not worked long-term.

Image of peter and nuse

Managing my expectations

It would be weird if I were overly positive about trying this, so I always keep my expectations fairly low. I won't get too disappointed if it doesn't work then. When I asked the brilliant nurses about the success rate, they said it varies from person to person. I took that to mean it is hit or miss. If it at least helps the skin on my face and neck, I will deem it a success. It is a one-off treatment that, once finished, I will not be able to get any more sessions.

Has anyone else had this treatment, and did it work for you?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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