Background: Eczema or atopic dermatitis (AD) is a common relapsing childhood dermatologic illness. Treatment of AD is primarily topical with emollients and corticosteroid/calcineurin inhibitor, which is efficacious for the majority of patients. However, AD is often complicated and difficult to manage in many Asian cities. Effective therapy is impeded by fallacies in the following aspects: (1) mistrust and unrealistic expectations about Western medicine, (2) skin care and allergy treatment, (3) ambiguity about optimal bathing and moisturizing, (4) hesitation and phobias about the usage of adequate topical corticosteroid and immunomodulatory therapies, (5) food and aeroallergen avoidance and dietary supplementation, and (6) complementary and alternative therapies.
Methods and results: Eleven anonymized case scenarios are described to illustrate issues associated with these fallacies. A literature review is performed and possible solutions to handle or dismiss these fallacies are discussed.
Conclusions: The first step in patient care is to accurately assess the patient and the family to evaluate possible concerns, anxiety, and phobias that could impede therapeutic efficacy. Education about the disease should be individualized. Conflicting recommendations on the usage of topical steroid have a detrimental effect on management outcomes, which must be avoided.
Keywords: atopic dermatitis; dietary supplementation; eczema; fallacies; food avoidance; moisturizer; steroid phobia.