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Skin Tags and Moles

Last updated April 7, 2017, originally published December 4, 2015

By Louise Carr
, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist






You know how annoying it is when you itch. You can’t stop
scratching your skin, which becomes red and inflamed. Itchy
skin is uncomfortable and can be painful. But prurigo nodularis
is more than an itch.

The condition commonly known as “super itch” is a tremendous
burden to sufferers. Sometimes it can be disabling. Stress and
autoimmune reactivity are two suspected causes of prurigo
nodularis. Find out more about the risk factors and what you
can do to treat prurigo nodularis naturally.

What Exactly Is Prurigo Nodularis?

Prurigo nodularis was first “discovered” in 1909 by Hyde and
Montgomery, who described the skin condition as characterized
by itchy nodules on the skin of the lower extremities. It can
occur at any age, although it occurs most often in middle age
and affects more women than men.

Prurigo nodularis causes hard crusts to form on the skin’s
surface which itch tremendously. The itching may be constant,
or only happen at night. The itching is usually so extreme that it
only stops when the skin is broken and bleeding.

Contrary to the first definitions of the condition, prurigo
nodularis doesn’t only occur on the legs and can affect the arms
and shoulders.

The so-called “itch/scratch cycle” with prurigo nodularis is
actually what causes most harm to the sufferer. When you
scratch the skin, the nerves thicken and send stronger signals to
itch. The more you scratch, the stronger the urge to itch
becomes. Several factors help sustain the itch/scratch cycle
including mental health conditions, skin diseases like eczema,
and reduced kidney function.

What Causes Prurigo Nodularis?

The causes of prurigo nodularis are still largely unknown. The
most common skin disorder which leads to prurigo nodularis is
atopic
dermatitis, according to a 2013 study from the
Department of Dermatology, Competence Center Chronic
Pruritus in Germany. If you suffer from dermatitis which has led
to prurigo nodularis, you should take a look at the
list of natural
remedies for dermatitis. Black rice, for example, helps to relieve
many cases of dermatitis.

Many different conditions are thought to affect the development
of prurigo nodularis, from psychiatric conditions to liver
conditions.

An autoimmune reaction could be at the heart of the formation
of prurigo nodularis. It is the most common form of skin
condition affecting HIV sufferers, and can be seen when HIV
patients are severely immunosuppressed. Cell inflammation may
also cause the condition, although this has by no means been
proven.

In addition to atopic dermatitis, a large proportion of prurigo
nodularis sufferers also have a history of hay fever or asthma.
Many experts believe that the condition starts with an insect bite
reaction, or as a form of dermatitis.

Prurigo nodularis is also associated with iron-deficiency
anemia,
chronic renal failure, and the
compression or traction of spinal
nerves.

It is difficult to treat prurigo nodularis. Steroid creams are often
prescribed, as are antihistamine creams and steroid injections.
Antidepressants may be given to help stop the itch/scratch cycle
by improving symptoms of depression.

We looked the scientific reports to find effective natural
solutions for prurigo nodularis. What can you do to treat prurigo
nodularis with natural remedies?

7 Natural Remedies for Prurigo Nodularis






























1. Treat Prurigo Nodularis with Capsaicin

Topical treatment of prurigo nodularis with capsaicin cream
appears to be effective and safe. Capsaicin is the substance that
gives hot peppers their “heat”.  Scientists use a Scoville rating to
rank how hot a substance is. On this scale, pure capsaicin is 3
times hotter than pepper spray and over 200 times hotter than a
jalapeno pepper.

When capsaicin is applied to the skin, it causes the body to
release a substance called "Substance P" that is ordinarily only
released when tissues are damaged.

The result is a burning pain, but when the cream is regularly
applied to the body the levels of this substance are depleted.
One happy consequence is that pain in the area is reduced.

A 2001 study from the University of Muenster, Germany 33
patients experienced a complete elimination of the itchy skin
nodules after months of treatment with capsaicin.

2.
Vitamin D3 Helps Treat Prurigo Nodularis

A 1996 study from Tokyo Medical and Dental University School
of Medicine, Japan shows that a topical vitamin D cream helps
heal the lesions caused by prurigo nodularis in people who have
become resistant to steroid treatment.

The positive results occurred within four weeks of using the
cream.

3.
Use Sterile Dressings to Treat Prurigo Nodularis

Treatment with DuoDerm or another type of sterile dressing is
said to flatten the lesions while preventing scratching – thus
stopping the itch/scratch cycle.

A 1989 study by LN Meyers demonstrated the effectiveness of
this treatment.

4.
Should UV Light Be Used to Treat Prurigo Nodularis?

Treatment with UV light may be beneficial for severe prurigo
nodularis, although no one should be exposed to high levels of
UV light on a regular basis.

A 1997 study from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona,
Spain showed that combined treatment with narrow-band UV
light and thalidomide produced excellent results over a course of
32 UVB courses and 12 weeks’ of drug therapy.

And of course, thalidomide should not be taken by women of
childbearing age who have the possibility of pregnancy because
of the risk of birth defects.

5.
You Could Also Try Monochromatic Excimer Light for Prurigo
Nodularis

A less dangerous option is to treat prurigo nodularis with
monochromatic excimer light (MEL). According to a 2008 study
from the University of Rome Tor Vergat in Italy, exposing lesions
to this type of light is safe and effective.

Eleven patients in the trial were given weekly doses of the light
therapy and partial or complete remission was observed in 81
percent of the cases.

6.
Treat Prurigo Nodularis with Habit Reversal Therapy

Habit reversal therapy can help stop the itch/scratch cycle that is
so distressing and problematic for prurigo nodularis sufferers.

Dermatology nurses with training in this therapy can help
sufferers stop the habit. A 2007 study from Flinders Medical
Centre, South Australia shows how an old habit can be broken
by replacing it with a new, more desirable trait and in the study
this therapy improved the lives of patients with eczema and
prurigo nodularis.

Habit reversal therapy was developed in 1988 by two scientists,
Dr. Nathan Azrin of Nova Southeastern University and Dr. Alan L.
Peterson of the University of Texas. This therapy relies of first
making the patient aware of the behavior, then training the
patient to become relaxed, then finally to substitute a new
behavior with the troublesome one.

What kinds of behaviors could substitute for scratching? It
depends on the individual. You might try singing, snapping your
fingers, chewing gum, flexing your feet and toes. Whatever you
substitute must be a habit you find highly pleasurable.

7.
Lower Your Stress Levels to Get Rid of Prurigo Nodularis

Prurigo nodularis is often linked to psychological and emotional
conditions, particularly because  the itch/scratch cycle can also
cause a cycle of depression and anxiety.

A 2008 study from the University of Florence in Italy
demonstrates that psychosomatic factors are present in at least
one-third of all patients with dermatological conditions.

A 2011 study by the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Israel
demonstrates that hypnosis and acupuncture are useful for
treating prurigo nodularis – the therapies reduce the intensity of
itching and the size and number of skin lesions.


[Update:

The skin lesions caused by prurigo may be helped by a weekly
rinse with thyme tea, stuides have found. Certain herbs, notably
thyme, rosemary and peppermint, contain active compounds
that reduce skin infections. These herbs have not been studied
for their effectiveness in reducing the itching of prurigo,
however.]










































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Black grain rice has been found
effective in treating dermatitis
Capsaicin, a compound found in
peppers, helps top relieve the
unbearable itching of prurigo
nodularis.