Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder with an immunological base which strikes above all in infancy (in 70% of cases before 5 years of age) and in about 60% of cases it clears up spontaneously in pre-school age or adolescence.
About 80% of the affected children develop asthma and/or allergic rhinitis and very frequently this coincides with the regression of Atopic Dermatitis. However, AD may also appear in adulthood (about 1/3 of cases), affecting especially the hand, feet and extensions.

Atopic Dermatitis has a recurrent chronic trend, alternating acute phases of an inflammatory type (very intense itching, eczematous lesions, redness and strong sweating) with phases of remission in which itching and dryness often persist. Atopic Dermatitis is not contagious and does not leave scars.
It is a “barrier defect” pathology, which involves an excessive loss of water and an excessive entry of extraneous substances through the skin.

The skin is very dry, hypersensitive and hyperreactive to environmental factors which may trigger an inflammatory state (acute phase of the disease).

- Inhaled allergens (from mite, cat, dog) and, in some cases, food allergens;
- bacteria (e.g. Staphylococcus Aureus), fungi and yeasts (e.g. Malassezia, Candidiasis);
- excessively acid or alkaline soaps/detergents;
- irritating underwear, of wool or synthetic fibre (but also cotton), or coloured;
- sweating;
- cold, dry and windy climate, or hot and excessively humid;
- stress.

Itching
Itching, especially in the acute inflammatory phases, may be very intense and is a big problem for a child, not only because of its conditioning effect on his life (disturbed or no sleep, irritability, etc.) but because it causes him to scratch intensely, causing scratching injuries, the onset of bacterial and fungal superinfections that seriously complicate the disorder.

Clothing
In Atopic Dermatitis it is very important to pay attention to the type of clothing worn in contact with the skin. Woollen and acrylic clothing should be avoided because it is very irritating. As excessive sweating aggravates this pathology, garments in polyester or polyamide microfiber should be avoided, as they have a poor hygroscopic capacity (they absorb and lose humidity too slowly or insufficiently) and they often do not allow the skin to breathe much. As well as causing excessive sweating, these fabrics favour the growth of bacteria and fungi, facilitating the onset of infections. Cotton is generally acknowledged to be the best choice of clothing for children with Atopic Dermatitis. However, recent studies have shown how the short cotton fibres can irritate the skin. In fact, they absorb and lose humidity with a typical spiral movement which scratches the skin at microscopic level. Moreover, when cotton gets damp it cools, stimulating a raise in body temperature and thus favouring sweating, which is already very high in children with Atopic Dermatitis. See the difference between DermaSilk and cotton.

Bacterial infections
The skin of children with Atopic Dermatitis is more prone than others to colonisation by Staphylococcus Aureus, a bacterium that can aggravate the disorder, damaging the skin barrier and determining an inflammatory state, both by the action of bacterial endotoxins and by causing superinfections. It is calculated that Staphylococcus Aureus can be isolated  in at least 90% of patients with atopic eczema.

It may be a sign of mite allergy
The presence of Atopic Dermatitis in early infancy is a sign that must be given careful consideration. It has been demonstrated that over 60% of children with Atopic Dermatitis are allergic to mites and have a risk of developing rhinitis and/or asthma in later years. The early application of environmental preventive measures (in particular the use of certified anti-mite covers) reduces the symptoms of Atopic Dermatitis and the risk of respiratory diseases.

Patients with Atopic Dermatitis are more prone to develop Contact Dermatitis during their lifetime.

DermaSilk garments are indicated in the European Guidelines EADV for the diagnosis and treatment of Atopic Dermatitis, where their use is recommended even when the condition is very slight. Thanks to its characteristics, DermaSilk is efficacious  both in the acute phases and during remission:

- it quickly reduces itching and inflammation;
- it controls bacterial, fungal and yeast superinfections;
- it controls sweat and maintains the correct hydrolipid equilibrium;
- it reduces the duration of acute phases and the frequency of relapses;
- it favours the healing of lesions and regeneration of the skin.

The following clinical studies demonstrate the efficacy of DermaSilk in dealing with this pathology.

- Clinical effectiveness of a silk fabric in the treatment of atopic dermatitis (G. Ricci et al., Bologna University Hospital, Italy - Published in the British Journal of Dermatology, 2004; 150: 127-131);

- Antimicrobial Silk Clothing in the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis Proves Comparable to Topical Corticosteroid Treatment (Senti G. et al., Zurich University Hospital, Switzerland - Published in Dermatology, 2006; 213: 228-233);

- Action of a silk fabric with antimicrobial in children with atopic dermatitis: a 3-month clinical experiment (Koller DY et al., Department of Paediatrics, Vienna University Hospital, Austria. - Published in Pediatric Allergy Immunology, 2007; 18: 335-338);

- A Randomized Double-Blind study to investigate the clinical efficacy of adding a non-migrating antimicrobial to a Special Silk Fabric in the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis (G. Stinco, F. Piccirillo, F. Valent – Dermatology 2008; 217:191-195);

- Evaluation of the efficacy of medicated silk in the treatment of Atopic Dermatitis in children and adults (F. Piccirillo, S. Bondino, A. Trink, V.C. Battarra, G. Stinco. Dermatological Clinic - Department of Pathology and Experimental Medicine - University of Udine; UOSD Oncologic Dermatology, Hospital of S.Anna e S. Sebastiano Caserta). Poster presented at the 48th ADOI Congress, Venice, 4.7 November 2009).