The greatest weakness in the science of dermatology to-day is the deficiency in the knowledge of causes. The greatest need of the practitioner is not, as is often supposed, the ability to attach a name to every lesion of the integument but to have some idea of the relationship between surface manifestations and what is taking place within the body. The function of the dermatologist is not to furnish short cuts to simulate the glow of health but to interpret correctly the significance of cutaneous lesions as applied to the organism in general.
An interesting sign of progress toward knowledge of causes is the tendency revealed by recent text-books to classify skin diseases on a basis of etiology. The classification of skin diseases on a strict pathologic basis so commonly in use would at first glance seem to be of great service. One would say that by means of such
CHIPMAN ED. CUTANEOUS REACTIONS. JAMA. 1912;LIX(2):106-109. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04270070107009