Eczema and dermatitis

The disorders grouped under this heading are the most common skin conditions seen by family doctors, and make up some 20% of all new patients referred to our clinics. Terminology The word ‘eczema’ comes from the Greek for ‘boiling’ aa reference to the tiny vesicles (bubbles) that are often seen in the early acute stages…

The Skin Immune System

The horny layer of the skin is able both to prevent the loss of fluid and electrolytes, and to stop the penetration of harmful substances. It is a dry mechanical barrier from which contaminating organisms and chemicals are continually being removed by washing and desquamation. Only when these breach the horny layer do the cellular…

Psoriasis

One to three per cent of most populations have psoriasis, which is most prevalent in European and North American white people, uncommon in American black people and almost non-existent in American Indians. It is a chronic non-infectious inflammatory skin disorder, characterized by well-defined erythematous plaques bearing large adherent silvery scales. It can start at any…

Skin Disease in Perspective

Dermatology is the study of the skin and its associated structures, including the hair and nails, and of their diseases. It is an immense subject, embracing some 2000 conditions, yet, paradoxically, some 70% of the dermatology work in the UK is caused by only nine types of skin disorder (Table 1.1). Similarly, in the USA,…