Dermatitis Artefacta in a Child


Address correspondence to Dr. Mauro Paradisi, Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata (IDI-IRCCS), via dei Monti di Creta 104, 00167 Rome, Italy, or e-mail:


Abstract:  The high visibility of dermatologic diseases and their easy accessibility make the skin a primary and direct target for dysfunctional behaviors. Self-harm tendencies can frequently be expressed through dermatologic lesions, and dermatitis artefacta falls within this clinical frame. The occurrence of this cutaneous manifestation in children is very rare, with a peak of greater frequency in adolescence. We describe the characteristics of a multidisciplinary intervention—dermatologic and psychologic. Our pediatric patient displays a dermatologic picture that has no etiologic confirmation. The source of this disorder must therefore be found in socio-relational difficulties within the family and school environments, which lead the patient to self-harm behaviors that have a high communication value.