Prospective multicenter survey on the clinical management of pediatric contact dermatitis

Giuseppe Ruggiero, Claudia Carnevale, Andrea Diociaiuti, Fabio Arcangeli, May El Hachem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Contact dermatitis can be defined as an inflammatory process affecting the skin surface and induced by contact with chemical, physical and/or biotic agents in the environment. It causes lesions to skin, mucosae and semi-mucosae by means of allergic and irritant pathogenic mechanisms. Among the main triggers of contact dermatitis in the pediatric age are chemical or physical agents, which cause irritant contact dermatitis (ICD), and sensitizers, which cause a tissue damage through an allergic mechanism (allergic contact dermatitis [ACD]). METHODS: A prospective, multicenter, observational study was carried out in 204 children affected by contact dermatitis, aged up to 14 years, and enrolled by pediatricians from 7 different Italian provinces. The diagnosis of contact dermatitis was based on the pediatrician's clinical evaluation. The data were collected through a series of simple and multiple choice questions, anonymously filled out by pediatricians. RESULTS: In 90% of cases (184 of 204 patients), there was complete remission of contact dermatitis, with no cases of worsening. No adverse events were observed, either. The effectiveness of the therapy was rated as "very effective" by 84.4% of the parents and 86.8% of the pediatricians. In only 10 patients a new therapy had to be prescribed. CONCLUSIONS: Contact dermatitis is a heterogeneous inflammatory skin disease induced by contact with different kinds of environmental agents. Cutaneous manifestations are highly variable and depend on the modality of contact, on the causative agent and on the pathogenesis. This Italian experience of a clinical approach to contact dermatitis stresses the need of daily skin care through different therapeutic strategies, based on the diagnosis, the clinical severity and the parents and children compliance. The first therapeutic measure to be implemented is prevention, through the removal of the causative agent and the use of protective devices. Indeed, preserving the skin's barrier function is an important goal and a priority of treatment algorithms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-418
Number of pages7
JournalMinerva Pediatrica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Allergic contact dermatitis
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Irritant contact dermatitis
  • Therapeutic patient education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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