Division of Paediatric and Adolescent Medicine, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway; Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; Department of Dermatology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway. Electronic address: [Email]
BACKGROUND : Dry skin is associated with increased transepidermal water loss (TEWL), which has been found to precede atopic dermatitis (AD) in childhood. OBJECTIVE : We aimed to identify parental, prenatal, and perinatal predictive factors of dry skin, high TEWL, and AD at 3 months of age, and to determine if dry skin or high TEWL at 3 months can predict AD at 6 months. METHODS : From the Preventing Atopic Dermatitis and Allergies in children prospective birth cohort study, we included 1150 mother-child pairs. Dry skin, TEWL, and eczema were assessed at 3- and 6-month investigations. Eczema, used as a proxy for AD, was defined as the presence of eczematous lesions, excluding differential diagnoses to AD. High TEWL was defined as TEWL >90th percentile, equaling 11.3 g/m2/h. Potential predictive factors were recorded from electronic questionnaires at 18- and 34-week pregnancy and obstetric charts. RESULTS : Significant predictive factors (P < .05) for dry skin at 3 months were delivery >38 gestational weeks and paternal age >37 years; for high TEWL, male sex, birth during winter season, and maternal allergic disease; and for eczema, elective caesarean section, multiparity, and maternal allergic diseases. Dry skin without eczema at 3 months was predictive for eczema at 6 months (adjusted odds ratio: 1.92, 95% confidence interval: 1.21-3.05; P = .005), whereas high TEWL at 3 months was not. CONCLUSIONS : In early infancy, distinct parental- and pregnancy-related factors were predictive for dry skin, high TEWL, and AD. Dry skin at 3 months of age was predictive for AD 3 months later.