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REVIEW  PSYCHOCUTANEOUS DISEASES 

Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2018 August;153(4):525-34

DOI: 10.23736/S0392-0488.18.06019-4

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Dermatitis artefacta in childhood and adolescence: a spectrum of disease

Padma MOHANDAS 1, 2, Jane C. RAVENSCROFT 1, Anthony BEWLEY 2

1 Department of Pediatric Dermatology, Nottingham Children’s Hospital, Nottingham, UK; 2 Department of Dermatology, Royal London Hospital, London, UK


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Dermatitis artefacta (DA) or artefactual skin disease (ASD) is a factitious skin disorder rarely reported in the pediatric population. Skin lesions are produced deliberately either consciously or in a dissociative state to satisfy an underlying psychological need. Children may present with acutely formed skin changes or with chronic lesions, quite often having seen other specialists during their journey. The mechanism of formation of skin lesions can vary from the application of pigment onto the skin to simulate disease or more destructive techniques like the injection of irritant substances into the skin. Whichever mode used, it is important to focus on why rather than how the lesions are produced. Establishing a strong physician-patient-family relationship is important in managing this condition. The prognosis of the condition is variable, but it has been shown that resolution of the underlying psychosocial stressor leads to improvement of the skin. We advocate a multidisciplinary team approach in managing DA as it has shown to improve outcomes.


KEY WORDS: Dermatitis - Self-injurious behavior - Factitious disorders - Child - Adolescent

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