Atopy is the genetic predisposition to develop an allergic reaction that produces an exaggerated IgE response when a person is exposed to otherwise harmless environmental substances.

The factors involved in developing any atopic disease are complex, but early diagnosis and treatment to preserve the skin barrier may prevent progression from atopic dermatitis to other atopic diseases.

Some researchers believe that atopic dermatitis is the first herald of the atopic march, which refers to a typical sequence of atopic dermatitis followed by allergic rhinitis and asthma. Although not universally accepted (some believe that rather than a sequential series of events, the different ages of onset of atopic disorders simply represent phenotypic heterogeneity), this hypothesis asserts that:

  • Antigens may be more likely to penetrate a defective skin barrier, transcutaneously sensitizing a child to environmental allergens.
  • Protecting and preserving the skin barrier in a child who is at risk for atopic dermatitis or displays early signs, therefore, may be an important step in preventing allergies and asthma.

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The development of this information was made possible through support from Sanofi and Regeneron.