Definition of atopic eczema

Atopic eczema (or atopic dermatitis) means the repeated inflammatory skin manifestations of atopy. It is a chronic, pruriginous, inflammatory dermatosis that evolves in the form of flare-ups.

what is atopic eczema

It is a complex multi-factor disease that combines two types of anomalies :
- an alteration in the epidermal barrier (filaggrin deficit), which makes the skin dry and abnormally sensitive to any type of aggression
- a tendency to be sensitive to IgE allergens.

Frequency
Prevalence (number of patients affected in the general population) has tripled in 30 years in industrialised countries.

photos atopic eczema baby adult

Dr. Wallach's Collection (Paris) and Pr J. Mazereeuw (Toulouse)


It is the most common dermatosis among children
-  Ranging from 12% to 15% in France, it can appear during the first months of infancy.
-  It affects 20% of children under the age of 7, and close to 18% of children between the ages of 7 and 16.
It is therefore an emerging public health problem.

Genetic factors increase prevalence (if one of the parents has the disease, there is a 50% risk for the child) ; a genetic predisposition therefore exists.

Prevalance is also influenced by the environment, changes in lifestyles and better hygiene in our societies (the disease is more prevalent in industrialised countries).