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G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2013 Feb;148(1):135-46.

Climate change and skin.

Author information

1
Department of Dermatology, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy.

Abstract

Global climate appears to be changing at an unprecedented rate. Climate change can be caused by several factors that include variations in solar radiation received by earth, oceanic processes (such as oceanic circulation), plate tectonics, and volcanic eruptions, as well as human-induced alterations of the natural world. Many human activities, such as the use of fossil fuel and the consequent accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, land consumption, deforestation, industrial processes, as well as some agriculture practices are contributing to global climate change. Indeed, many authors have reported on the current trend towards global warming (average surface temperature has augmented by 0.6 °C over the past 100 years), decreased precipitation, atmospheric humidity changes, and global rise in extreme climatic events. The magnitude and cause of these changes and their impact on human activity have become important matters of debate worldwide, representing climate change as one of the greatest challenges of the modern age. Although many articles have been written based on observations and various predictive models of how climate change could affect social, economic and health systems, only few studies exist about the effects of this change on skin physiology and diseases. However, the skin is the most exposed organ to environment; therefore, cutaneous diseases are inclined to have a high sensitivity to climate. For example, global warming, deforestation and changes in precipitation have been linked to variations in the geographical distribution of vectors of some infectious diseases (leishmaniasis, lyme disease, etc) by changing their spread, whereas warm and humid environment can also encourage the colonization of the skin by bacteria and fungi. The present review focuses on the wide and complex relationship between climate change and dermatology, showing the numerous factors that are contributing to modify the incidence and the clinical pattern of many dermatoses.

PMID:
23407083
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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