J Korean Med Assoc.  2011 Feb;54(2):169-174. 10.5124/jkma.2011.54.2.169.

Climate change and atopic dermatitis

  • 1Department of Dermatology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. kyuhkim@snu.ac.kr


The prevalence of atopic diseases seems to be increasing worldwide. Climate change induced by global warming has been reported to increase allergic respiratory diseases such as asthma and allergic rhinitis (AR), and appears to aggravate atopic dermatitis (AD). Increasing air pollution and pollen associated with climate change, acting individually or synergistically, may have harmful effects on the prevalence and symptoms of AD, because they can easily penetrate the damaged epithelium of AD and sensitize patients. However, the direct scientific evidence supporting the linear correlation between climate change and increase of AD is quite limited compared to that available for respiratory allergic diseases. Large-scale population studies are necessary to observe the effects of climate change on AD in a more detailed and objective way. In terms of allergic march, climate change may aggravate and increase AD and lead to more increases in asthma and AR in the long run.


Climate change; Prevalence; Atopic dermatitis

MeSH Terms

Air Pollution
Climate Change
Dermatitis, Atopic
Global Warming
Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial


1. Maziak W, Behrens T, Brasky TM, Duhme H, Rzehak P, Weiland SK, Keil U. Are asthma and allergies in children and adolescents increasing? Results from ISAAC phase I and phase III surveys in Munster, Germany. Allergy. 2003. 58:572–579.
2. Grize L, Gassner M, Wüthrich B, Bringolf-Isler B, Takken-Sahli K, Sennhauser FH, Stricker T, Eigenmann PA, Braun-Fahrlander C. Swiss Surveillance Programme on Childhood Allergy and Respiratory symptoms with respect to Air Pollution (SCAR-POL) team. Trends in prevalence of asthma, allergic rhinitis and atopic dermatitis in 5-7-year old Swiss children from 1992 to 2001. Allergy. 2006. 61:556–562.
3. Selnes A, Nystad W, Bolle R, Lund E. Diverging prevalence trends of atopic disorders in Norwegian children: results from three cross-sectional studies. Allergy. 2005. 60:894–899.
4. Olesen AB, Bang K, Juul S, Thestrup-Pedersen K. Stable incidence of atopic dermatitis among children in Denmark during the 1990s. Acta Derm Venereol. 2005. 85:244–247.
5. Yura A, Shimizu T. Trends in the prevalence of atopic dermatitis in school children: longitudinal study in Osaka Prefecture, Japan, from 1985 to 1997. Br J Dermatol. 2001. 145:966–973.
6. Muto T, Hsieh SD, Sakurai Y, Yoshinaga H, Suto H, Okumura K, Ogawa H. Prevalence of atopic dermatitis in Japanese adults. Br J Dermatol. 2003. 148:117–121.
7. Saeki H, Iizuka H, Mori Y, Akasaka T, Takagi H, Kitajima Y, Tezuka T, Tanaka T, Hide M, Yamamoto S, Hirose Y, Kodama H, Urabe K, Furue M, Kasagi F, Torii H, Nakamura K, Morita E, Tsunemi Y, Tamaki K. Prevalence of atopic dermatitis in Japanese elementary schoolchildren. Br J Dermatol. 2005. 152:110–114.
8. Kim YH, Kim JW, Houh W. A study on incidence and genetic background of atopic dermatitis. Korean J Dermatol. 1979. 17:105–110.
9. Kim MJ, Kang TW, Cho EA, Kim HS, Min JA, Park H, Kim JW, Cha SH, Lee YB, Cho SH, Kim SJ, Kim JE, Park HJ, Choi MJ, Kang MJ, Lee KH, Choi KH, Kim KM, Kim DJ, Park YM. Prevalence of atopic dermatitis among Korean adults visiting health service center of the Catholic Medical Center in Seoul Metropolitan Area, Korea. J Korean Med Sci. 2010. 25:1828–1830.
10. Kim SH, Kim SJ, Park HS, Lee CH, Yoon HS. A survey of the distribution of allergic diseases in low grade children on primary school. J Korean Pediatr Soc. 1988. 31:1290–1300.
11. Shin TS, Lee GJ, Yoon HS. Survey on the distribution of allergic diseases in primary schoolchildren. Korean J Allergy. 1990. 10:201–212.
12. Oh JW, Pyun BY, Choung JT, Ahn KM, Kim CH, Song SW, Son JA, Lee SY, Lee SI. Epidemiological change of atopic dermatitis and food allergy in school-aged children in Korea between 1995 and 2000. J Korean Med Sci. 2004. 19:716–723.
13. Flohr C, Pascoe D, Williams HC. Atopic dermatitis and the 'hygiene hypothesis': too clean to be true? Br J Dermatol. 2005. 152:202–216.
14. Epstein PR. Climate change and human health. N Engl J Med. 2005. 353:1433–1436.
15. Shea KM, Truckner RT, Weber RW, Peden DB. Climate change and allergic disease. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008. 122:443–453.
16. Rajka G. Atopic dermatitis: correlation of environmental factors with frequency. Int J Dermatol. 1986. 25:301–304.
17. Vocks E, Busch R, Frohlich C, Borelli S, Mayer H, Ring J. Influence of weather and climate on subjective symptom intensity in atopic eczema. Int J Biometeorol. 2001. 45:27–33.
18. Weiland SK, Husing A, Strachan DP, Rzehak P, Pearce N. ISAAC Phase One Study Group. Climate and the prevalence of symptoms of asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic eczema in children. Occup Environ Med. 2004. 61:609–615.
19. Suarez-Varela MM, Garcia-Marcos Alvarez L, Kogan MD, González AL, Gimeno AM, Aguinaga Ontoso I, Díaz CG, Pena AA, Aurrecoechea BD, Monge RM, Quiros AB, Garrido JB, Canflanca IM, Varela AL. Climate and prevalence of atopic eczema in 6- to 7-year-old school children in Spain: ISAAC phase III. Int J Biometeorol. 2008. 52:833–840.
20. Reid CE, Gamble JL. Aeroallergens, allergic disease, and climate change: impacts and adaptation. Ecohealth. 2009. 6:458–470.
21. Noyes PD, McElwee MK, Miller HD, Clark BW, Van Tiem LA, Walcott KC, Erwin KN, Levin ED. The toxicology of climate change: environmental contaminants in a warming world. Environ Int. 2009. 35:971–986.
22. Ring J, Kramer U, Schafer T, Abeck D, Vieluf D, Behrendt H. Environmental risk factors for respiratory and skin atopy: results from epidemiological studies in former East and West Germany. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 1999. 118:403–407.
23. Schafer T, Heinrich J, Wjst M, Krause C, Adam H, Ring J, Wichmann HE. Indoor risk factors for atopic eczema in school children from East Germany. Environ Res. 1999. 81:151–158.
24. Rusznak C, Devalia JL, Davies RJ. The impact of pollution on allergic disease. Allergy. 1994. 49:18 Suppl. 21–27.
25. Penard-Morand C, Charpin D, Raherison C, Kopferschmitt C, Caillaud D, Lavaud F, Annesi-Maesano I. Long-term exposure to background air pollution related to respiratory and allergic health in schoolchildren. Clin Exp Allergy. 2005. 35:1279–1287.
26. Yu JH, Lue KH, Lu KH, Sun HL, Lin YH, Chou MC. The relationship of air pollution to the prevalence of allergic diseases in Taichung and Chu-Shan in 2002. J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2005. 38:123–126.
27. Yemaneberhan H, Flohr C, Lewis SA, Bekele Z, Parry E, Williams HC, Britton J, Venn A. Prevalence and associated factors of atopic dermatitis symptoms in rural and urban Ethiopia. Clin Exp Allergy. 2004. 34:779–785.
28. Dotterud LK, Odland JO, Falk ES. Atopic diseases among schoolchildren in Nikel, Russia, an Arctic area with heavy air pollution. Acta Derm Venereol. 2001. 81:198–201.
29. Ziska LH, Gebhard DE, Frenz DA, Faulkner S, Singer BD, Straka JG. Cities as harbingers of climate change: common ragweed, urbanization, and public health. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003. 111:290–295.
30. D'Amato G, Liccardi G, D'Amato M, Cazzola M. Outdoor air pollution, climatic changes and allergic bronchial asthma. Eur Respir J. 2002. 20:763–776.
31. Beck HI, Bjerring P, Harving H. Atopic dermatitis and the indoor climate: the effect from preventive measures. Acta Derm Venereol. 1989. 69:162–165.
32. Schafer T, Stieger B, Polzius R, Krauspe A. Atopic eczema and indoor climate: results from the children from Lubeck allergy and environment study (KLAUS). Allergy. 2008. 63:244–246.
33. Byremo G, Rød G, Carlsen KH. Effect of climatic change in children with atopic eczema. Allergy. 2006. 61:1403–1410.
34. Elias PM, Steinhoff M. "Outside-to-inside" (and now back to "outside") pathogenic mechanisms in atopic dermatitis. J Invest Dermatol. 2008. 128:1067–1070.
35. Brown SJ, Irvine AD. Atopic eczema and the filaggrin story. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2008. 27:128–137.
36. Spergel JM. From atopic dermatitis to asthma: the atopic march. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2010. 105:99–106.
Full Text Links
  • JKMA
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
Copyright © 2023 by Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors. All rights reserved.     E-mail: koreamed@kamje.or.kr