According to modern interpretation, the term "eczema" describes not a disease entity but a more or less characteristic form of cutaneous reaction. Although it is difficult to give a brief, yet accurate, description of the eczematous reaction, I believe that the following definition enjoys the most universal acceptance: All "eczemas" consist of inflammatory reactions in the uppermost portions of the skin. These reactions are characterized, clinically, by one or more of the following: erythema, papulation, vesiculation, oozing, crusting, scaling and thickening, and, histologically, by intraepidermal edema (spongiosis), vesicles, parakeratosis and acanthosis, and with concomitant, more or less marked, acute or chronic inflammatory changes in the upper cutis. This form of reaction is the most common of all dermatologic changes; "eczemas" of various types and from various causes rank with the common cold and with acne vulgaris as perhaps the most frequently encountered of all human diseases.
In recent years, dermatologists
SULZBERGER MB. THE TREATMENT OF INFANTILE ECZEMA: FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE DERMATOLOGIST. JAMA. 1939;112(1):38–45. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.62800010003010
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