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Br J Dermatol. 2017 Jul;177(1):84-106. doi: 10.1111/bjd.15065. Epub 2017 Jun 11.

Skin absorption through atopic dermatitis skin: a systematic review.

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Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, DK-2900, Hellerup, Denmark.
National Allergy Research Centre, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, DK-2900, Hellerup, Denmark.
Coronel Institute of Occupational Health, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Laboratory for Analytical Chemistry, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia.
Department of Dermatology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.


Patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) have skin barrier impairment in both lesional and nonlesional skin. They are typically exposed daily to emollients and intermittently to topical anti-inflammatory medicaments, thereby increasing the risk of developing contact allergy and systemic exposure to chemical ingredients found in these topical preparations. We systematically searched for studies that investigated skin absorption of various penetrants, including medicaments, in patients with AD, but also in animals with experimentally-induced dermatitis. We identified 40 articles: 11 human studies examining model penetrants, 26 human studies examining AD drugs, and three animal studies. We conclude that patients with AD have almost twofold increased skin absorption compared with healthy controls. There is a need for well-designed epidemiological and dermatopharmacokinetic studies that examine to what extent AD causes patients to be systemically exposed to chemicals compared with nonatopic dermatitis.

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