Evaluation of factors that may affect disease development and severity in childhood atopic dermatitis

Ital J Dermatol Venerol. 2021 Aug;156(4):440-445. doi: 10.23736/S2784-8671.20.06469-X. Epub 2020 Feb 13.


Background: Atopic dermatitis is a chronic, relapsing, inflammatory disease. Data concerning the role of perinatal conditions in the development of the disease are few and inconsistent. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of skin care on the severity of the disease, also to evaluate the relations of perinatal conditions with disease development and severity.

Methods: Seventy-five patients with atopic dermatitis aged 2-10 years, their parents and 65 healthy age-compatible volunteers and their parents were included in the study. The Scoring Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) score was used to assess the severity of the disease.

Results: Emollient use (regular/irregular) was higher in patients with severe disease compared to those with mild and moderate disease, but no significant difference was determined in regular use rates (P=0.029, and P=0.504, respectively). Topical corticosteroid use and sleep disturbance rates in the previous three months in the subjects regularly using emollients were low (P=0.032, and P=0.005, respectively). The incidence of severe disease was higher in the patients born in the winter (P=0.033). Severe disease rates were significantly high in the subjects in the patient group with advanced maternal age, a history of cesarean delivery and incubator use (P=0.017, P=0.046, and P=0.025, respectively).

Conclusions: Low topical corticosteroid requirement and sleep disturbance rates in the subjects regularly using moisturizers emphasize the importance of emollient use in treatment. The association of cesarean delivery, history of incubator, and birth in winter with severe disease suggests that disease severity is related to less exposure to environmental allergens in the hygiene hypothesis.

MeSH terms

  • Dermatitis, Atopic* / drug therapy
  • Eczema* / drug therapy
  • Emollients / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Emollients