Background  Vitamin D deficiency could be associated with the prevalence of atopic dermatitis (AD).

Objectives  We carried out a study to see whether deficient/insufficient levels of vitamin D correlate with the severity of atopic skin disease.

Methods  Using the SCORAD index, we evaluated the severity of disease in 37 children (17 girls and 20 boys) aged between 8 months and 12 years with AD, consecutively enrolled in the study. Serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] were determined by a chemiluminescent method. Specific IgE (sIgE) to Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxins and sIgE to Malassezia furfur were assayed by the ImmunoCAP system. anova and the Pearson correlation test were used for statistical evaluation.

Results  We found severe, moderate and mild AD in nine (24%), 13 (35%) and 15 (41%) children, respectively. Mean ± SD serum levels of 25(OH)D were significantly higher (< 0·05) in patients with mild disease (36·9 ± 15·7 ng mL−1) compared with those with moderate (27·5 ± 8·3 ng mL−1) or severe AD (20·5 ± 5·9 ng mL−1). The prevalence of patients with sIgE to microbial antigens increased in relation to vitamin D deficiency and AD severity.

Conclusions  These data suggest that vitamin D deficiency may be related to the severity of AD and advocate the need for studies evaluating the use of vitamin D as a potential treatment in patients with this disease.