Patients with atopic dermatitis (neurodermatitis; neurodermitis) form the second largest group of people who use Dead Sea Salt for dermatological treatment.

Atopic dermatitis is chronic skin disease of unknown cause with the following main characteristics:

•Severe itching. This is an inherent aspect of the disease. Most of the visible skin changes are due to the persistent scratching.

•Frequently starts in early infancy. In the early stages the lesions are usually acute, "weeping" and crusted. Later, the skin becomes thickened with an exaggeration of its natural lines ("lichenification"). This occurs especially in the folds of the knees and elbows, and on the wrists, ankles and neck.

•A sensitive, reactive skin. The skin is dry, easily irritated by mechanical or chemical stimuli and tends to become allergic to external, ingested or inhaled substances (e.g. pollens, bee stings, house dust, foods, drugs). It is more prone to some bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Psychological and climatic factors sometimes play a dominant role in exacerbating or soothing the disease.

•A family history of Atophy. Atophy is a genetic susceptibility to certain diseases, which include atopic dermatitis, asthma and hay fever. The blood of atopic individuals usually has high levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin E, or IgE.