Medical Definition of Lichenification

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Lichenification: Thick, leathery skin, usually the result of constant scratching and rubbing.

With prolonged rubbing or scratching, the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis) becomes hypertrophied (overgrown) and this results in thickening of the skin and exaggeration of the normal skin markings, giving the skin a leathery bark-like appearance.

Lichenification is a common consequence of atopic dermatitis (eczema) and other pruritic (itchy) disorders. It may also arise on seemingly normal skin.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018