The skin functions as a permeable barrier that blocks the penetration of harmful pathogens and toxins. A hyperreactive immune response to allergens and deficiencies in protection against environmental toxins contribute to the overall risk of dermal sensitivity. In some cases dermal sensitivity results in atopic dermatitis, or eczema, which is the most common skin involvement, with a prevalence of up to 20% in children and 3% in adults in developed countries. People living in cities and in dry climates are more susceptible to this disease. Atopic dermatitis is characterised by very dry skin and inflammatory lesions, which are frequently infected by bacteria and viruses. It is important to see a dermatologist if you have these symptoms.
Genetic and environmental factors appear to be the cause of increased dermal sensitivity. Your overall risk is calculated using the results of a large-scale study in which a number of genetic variants associated with increased risk have been identified.