Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a
disease associated with itching dry
skin (xerosis) that causes eczematous
lesions, and thickening of the skin and an increase in skin markings
(lichenification). It usually starts in early infancy but now its adult-onset
variant is also recognized.
In a recent study Dr. Hsin-Su Yu
from Department of Dermatology, Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan and
colleagues assessed Environmental Tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure in 83 atopic
dermatitis patients, who were diagnosed by physicians in adulthood and 142 age
and gender matched controls.
The team found that current and previous smoking definitely increased
the relative risk for adult-onset AD, as compared with the people who never
smoked. They suggest that there is probability of a lifelong cumulative risk for atopic dermatitis in current smokers
as each pack of cigarette per year increased the relative risk for adult-onset
AD by 6%. Furthermore, nonsmokers with AD are significantly more likely to
have been exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in childhood than those
without the condition.
Dr. Yu states, "Although
there can be several other potential risk factors contributing to development
of adult-onset atopic dermatitis but this study does provide convincing
evidence of the association between
current smoking, exposure to ETS, and the development of adult-onset AD".
He concluded by adding,
"Further study is needed to understand and correlate the mechanisms
underlying these observations and also to look for other risk factors
initiating adult-onset AD".