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- 12/13/2023

Prevalence of allergic contact dermatitis in children with and without atopic dermatitis: A multicenter retrospective case-control study

HPC Today

Credit: Linh Ha, Unsplash

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic unpleasant skin condition often diagnosed during childhood, while allergic contact dermatitis happens when people have particular sensitivities and reactions to certain substances come into contact with their skin. While the cause is different, people may present with symptoms similar to atopic dermatitis.

As both allergic contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis (AD) have similar clinical presentations and are characterized by spongiotic dermatitis on skin biopsy, many children with AD are not referred for patch testing and allergic contact dermatitis is underdiagnosed.

A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology aim to analyse the relationship between these two pathological skin conditions and evaluate whether children with atopic dermatitis were more likely to have reactions to specific allergens.

This study was a retrospective case-control study. Researchers included 912 children in their data collection: 615 had AD and 297 did not have AD. These children had been referred for patch testing between 2018 and 2022.

Researchers said that the children with atopic dermatitis were more likely to have more than one positive reaction.

Moreover, children with atopic dermatitis were more likely to experience an allergic response to certain substances, including bacitracin, carba mix, and cocamidopropyl betaine.

It has been noted that children with atopic dermatitis may have increased exposure to these substances. For example, bacitracin is part of many common over-the-counter topical antibiotics and cocamidopropyl betaine is part of more gentle skin care products.

The study’s results indicate that children diagnosed with atopic dermatitis may benefit from further clinical testing to identify other skin sensitivities and should be referred for evaluation of allergic contact dermatitis and obtain patch testing.

This research does have certain limitations, including technical variation between providers and potential for misclassification, selection, and recall biases.