The Skin: Barrier or a Battlefield?
A soft, outer organ wraps the human body. Stretching more than 20 square feet, it’s a shield and an insulator, protecting us from the sun, cold weather, and all types of germs and bacteria1. It’s the skin, and just like many other parts of the body, it can become a battlefield if the immune system malfunctions.
Most people have heard of eczema, a common skin condition that causes dry, itchy skin which may become swollen, cracked and thickened over time. But the origin of its name – “ekzein,” Greek for “to boil” – brings to mind its most severe form, atopic dermatitis (AD).
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease that affects each individual differently. However, in its most severe form, it can affect the entire body, including the face, trapping a person in a vessel of itchy, painful, inflamed skin with no clear way out.
Atopic dermatitis is most commonly diagnosed in early childhood and affects 15 to 20% of children worldwide2. But the high incidence hasn’t necessarily resulted in increased awareness or advanced treatment options. In fact, there remains a wide gap in public awareness, with many people mistaking it for nothing more than itchy skin or an allergic reaction. For the scientific community, there is still much to uncover about the disease, how it manifests, and how to help those who are affected.