Epidemiology of skin diseases from the spectrum of dermatitis and eczema

Agnieszka Dorynska1, Radoslaw Spiewak1,2

1. Institute of Dermatology, Krakow, Poland
2. Department of Experimental Dermatology and Cosmetology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland

Source: Dorynska A, Spiewak R. Epidemiology of skin diseases from the spectrum of dermatitis and eczema. Malaysian J Dermatol 2012; 29 (December): 1-11.


Particular types of eczema may affect up to 29% individuals in certain populations (lifetime prevalence), thus placing the diseases among most frequent clinical problems. Nevertheless, diseases from the spectrum of dermatitis and eczema are poorly defined and frequently misdiagnosed, they also frequently overlap, making the diagnostic process even more difficult. In doubtful cases, where no further means of clinical or laboratory differentiation are available, reliable epidemiological data may provide relevant help in the diagnostic process, as the best candidate for a tentative diagnosis seems the most frequent among diseases in question, which can be verified later by the effectiveness of respective treatment regimen. However, results of epidemiological studies in the field of eczema and dermatitis may be strikingly contradictory, one of the possible reasons being definitions of various types of eczema/dermatitis that leave too much space for individual decision and thus seem hardly suitable for epidemiological research. Better studies based on unequivocal definitions of various types of eczema are necessary to achieve the quality of epidemiological data that would ensure the level of certainty expected from a diagnostic tool. The present paper collates results from available epidemiological data on various types of eczema: atopic eczema, allergic and irritant contact dermatitis, protein contact dermatitis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, asteatotic dermatitis, stasis dermatitis, nummular eczema, dyshidrotic eczema (pompholyx), hand dermatitis, and occupational dermatitis. Problems and possible sources of bias in available studies are addressed and discussed along with the results from the studies.
Key words: epidemiology; atopic eczema; allergic and irritant contact dermatitis; protein contact dermatitis; seborrhoeic dermatitis; asteatotic dermatitis; stasis dermatitis; nummular eczema; dyshidrotic eczema; pompholyx; hand dermatitis; occupational dermatitis.

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Dermatitis and eczema diagnosis and treatment in Krakow (Cracow), Poland

Institute of Dermatology, Krakow, Poland

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Document created: 6 August 2012, last updated: 10 October 2012.