A prospective pilot study, published in Scientific Reports, investigated the effect and safety profile of cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) as a treatment option for atopic dermatitis (AD) lesions. Researchers, led by Young Jae Kim, found that CAP appeared to significantly improve mild and moderate AD without safety problems.

According to their report, “CAP treatment is easy to apply in that it does not have safety problems at all, unlike oral immunosuppressant which have side effects in long term use.” The authors further reported that CAP showed potential as a burden-free adjuvant therapy. “In fact, most of patients in this study showed a substantial satisfaction with CAP treatment without any discomfort,” added Kim.

The study included 22 patients with mild to moderate AD with symmetric lesions. Three sessions of CAP treatment were performed at zero, one, and two weeks. AD severity was measured at zero, one, two, and four weeks after treatment.

The investigators observed that cold atmospheric plasma alleviated the clinical severity of atopic dermatitis. The CAP treatment group displayed significant reductions in scores on the modified atopic dermatitis antecubital severity (ADAS) and eczema area and severity index (EASI) scales. Conversely, results significantly improved on the scoring atopic dermatitis (SCORAD), and pruritic visual analog scales (VAS) after treatment. Lastly, microbiome analysis showed significantly less presence of Staphylococcus aureus in the CAP group.

The article did list some limitations of the study, including its single-center design and small sample size. Patients with severe AD were not included, because most were reluctant to stop oral immunosuppressants and attempt CAP treatment alone, according to the authors

Overall, CAP appears to be an effective treatment option that improves skin microbiome diversity, promotes skin barrier wound healing, and alleviates pruritic symptoms in patients with mild and moderate AD. The study posited that further validation of CAP through larger trials could introduce it into the standard AD management approach.

Source: Scientific Reports