Journal of Allergy
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 901940, 7 pages
Review Article

Skin Barrier Function and Its Importance at the Start of the Atopic March

Section of Allergy, Immunology and Pulmonology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, NV 89503, USA

Received 9 June 2011; Revised 24 January 2012; Accepted 6 February 2012

Academic Editor: Jacqueline Pongracic

Copyright © 2012 Mary Beth Hogan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Atopic dermatitis can be due to a variety of causes from nonatopic triggers to food allergy. Control of egress of water and protection from ingress of irritants and allergens are key components of cutaneous barrier function. Current research suggests that a degraded barrier function of the skin allows the immune system inappropriate access to environmental allergens. Epidermal aeroallergen exposure may allow sensitization to allergen possibly initiating the atopic march. Further research into connections between epidermal barrier function and possible allergen sensitization will be important to undertake. Future clinical trials focused on skin barrier protection may be of value as a possible intervention in prevention of the initiation of the atopic march.