Contact dermatitis in atopic individuals

Radoslaw Spiewak

Department of Experimental Dermatology and Cosmetology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland

Source: Spiewak R. Contact dermatitis in atopic individuals. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 2012; 12 (5): 491-497.


Purpose of review: Both atopy and diseases from the spectrum of dermatitis and eczema are among the most frequent clinical problems worldwide, nevertheless, they still are poorly defined and too frequently misdiagnosed. In the present review, studies pertinent to this topic were systematized and critically assessed with particular attention to definitions of relevant diseases.
Recent findings: The overall message from the research done to date is that various types of dermatitis frequently co-exist. Atopy and contact allergy seem independent, while there is insufficient data to state upon the relationship between atopy and allergic contact dermatitis. Furthermore, it seems at present that atopy does not, while atopic eczema does constitute a risk factor for irritant contact dermatitis.
Summary: The interplay between atopy and diseases from the spectrum of dermatitis and eczema is not fully understood, nevertheless, their co-existence and overlapping is not rare. Therefore, every patient with eczema - regardless of age, sex or atopic status - should undergo an extensive diagnostic programme including each atopic eczema, irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, and protein contact dermatitis. Better definitions and well-designed studies are necessary to achieve detailed information on the complex relationships between each atopy, atopic eczema, and the three contact dermatitides.
Key words: atopy, atopic eczema, allergic contact dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis, protein contact dermatitis.

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Document created: 2 July 2012, last updated: 10 October 2012.