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October 3, 1931


Author Affiliations


From the Division of Dermatology of the Department of Medicine, University of Chicago.

JAMA. 1931;97(14):983-987. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02730140019005

Eczema is dermatitis, characterized by vesiculation in a patient who is hypersensitive to the irritative agent.

Disregarding for the moment the factor of hypersensitiveness and concentrating on the clinical aspect, the dermatosis is manifest first as erythema, then as edema. The edema of the epidermis is largely intercellular and gives rise first to microscopic and later to macroscopic vesicles. This process is spoken of as "spongiosis" and is found almost without exception only in the types of dermatitis known as eczema and dermatitis venenata.

If the process continues, the vesicles rupture, fluid exudes from the skin, and one sees the stage commonly known as oozing or weeping. The fluid is an exudate, has a high fibrin content, coagulates on exposure to air, and forms crusts. After a certain time, scaling is seen. Scaling is here due to an abnormality of the keratinization cycle known as parakeratosis and is a sign