Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronically relapsing eczematous disease, more common in infants and children than in adults and very rare after midlife. The diagnosis of AD is not always easy in adults, especially when the extension of lesions is limited and their distribution atypical. The aim of this study was to investigate epidemiologic and clinical features of adult AD. The medical files of 332 consecutive AD patients were reviewed to ascertain family and personal history of atopy, age at onset, morphology and localization sites of AD lesions, serum total immunoglobulin E levels, skin prick-test and patch-test results. The present study has show that the disease is more frequent in females and during the third decade of life, starts after the 18th year in slightly fewer than half the patients (47.6%), is prevalently localized in the limb flexures, eyelids, and perioral region, but also in the forehead, cheeks, and anterolateral region of the neck, where it is mainly mild to moderate. AD is of the intrinsic type in 30.4% of cases. Positive patch-test reactions to chemical allergens have been observed in 23.8% of patients. These are very important, because they may influence the occupational choices and the development of hand dermatitis.
From the Clinical, Allergological and Venereological Dermatology Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical Specialities and Public Health, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.
Address reprint requests to Prof. Paolo Lisi, Sezione di Dermatologia Clinica, Allergologica e Venereologica, Dipartimento di Specialità Medico-Chirurgixche e Sanità Pubblica,
Polo Ospedaliero-Universitario Santa Maria della Misericordia, Sant'Andrea delle Fratte, 06156, Perugia, Italia. E-mail: email@example.com