Dead Sea ultraviolet climatotherapy for children with atopic dermatitis

Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2016 Sep;32(5-6):254-261. doi: 10.1111/phpp.12250. Epub 2016 Jul 26.


Background: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common, chronic, and relapsing inflammatory skin disorder. Moderate to severe cases represent an extremely disabling disease, for both children and their parents. Dead Sea climatotherapy (DSC), recognized as a natural treatment for patients with skin diseases, takes advantage of the selectively scattered ultraviolet irradiation (UV) present at the lowest terrestrial site on the earth.

Objectives: To investigate the impact on short-term results of DSC in moderate to severe AD children from the Czech Republic treated 4 weeks at the Deutsches Medizinisches Zentrum (DMZ), Israel, and to correlate their results to the cumulative UVA and UVB irradiation doses received during treatment.

Patients and methods: Seventy-two patients aged <19 years were divided into three groups and treated in March 2014, October 2014, and March 2015 with gradually increasing sun exposure during 28 consecutive days. Daily and cumulative exposure doses of UVB and UVA were calculated through patients' recorded sun exposure logs. The SCORing Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) index was recorded immediately after DSC and 3 months later by the same dermatologist.

Results: Good clinical results were observed in all groups, with overall improvement in SCORAD reaching 87.5 ± 13.4% and 71.3 ± 21.3% immediately after DSC and 3 months later, respectively. No side effects were observed during the treatments. Higher cumulative exposure times correlated with better results and enhanced remission.

Conclusion: Dead Sea climatotherapy represents a valuable option for the treatment of AD in children. Medically controlled and prescribed sun exposure seems to directly and positively influence the results obtained.

Keywords: Dead Sea climatotherapy; SCORing Atopic Dermatitis index; atopic dermatitis; ultraviolet irradiation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Climatotherapy*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Time Factors
  • Ultraviolet Therapy*