Eczema historical perspective

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1], Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Edzel Lorraine Co, D.M.D., M.D.


It was in the 20th century when eczema came into existence, and later on, concepts on this had evolved including major insights on the nature of the disease.[1]

Historical Perspectives

  • It was in the 20th century when eczema came into existence, and later on, concepts on this had evolved including major insights on the nature of the disease.[1]
  • Listed below is a summary of the history of eczema.

Table 1. History of Eczema Through the Ages.[1]
Period Highlights Treatment
Ancient History

Ebers Papyrus (1500 BCE)

Hippocrates (400 BCE)

Celsus (AD)

 " certain degree of hardness of the skin with pustules, some humid and some dry  "

Suetonius (AD)

  • The atopic syndrome found in Emperor Augustus was described in The Twelve Caesars

Avicenna (980-1037 CE)

Premodern Era

Girolamo Mercurialis (1572)

Daniel Turner
Jean-Louis Alibert (1806)
Willan and Bateman (early 19th century)
  • Restoration of equilibrium.
Pierre Rayer (1835)
Ferdinand von Hebra (1860)
Erasmus Wilson
  • He was credited with the discovery of infantile eczema, which was similar to the concept by Wilan and Bateman.
  • The lesion was said to be pruritic at night time.
Ernest Besnier (1892)
Twentieth Century and Beyond Von Pirquet (1906)
  • He described the concept of allergy, which meant an abnormal reaction of the body to any substance.
Coca and Cooke (1923)
  • They proposed the concept of atopy.
Wise and Sulzberger (1933)
  • They used the concept by Coca and Cooke,and was able to conceptualize the atopic dermatitis.
Blackfan and Talbot (1916)
Hanifin and Rajka (1980)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Bhattacharya T, Strom MA, Lio PA (2016). "Historical Perspectives on Atopic Dermatitis: Eczema Through the Ages". Pediatr Dermatol. 33 (4): 375–9. doi:10.1111/pde.12853. PMID 27086570.
  2. Ali FR, Finlayson AE (2013). "Pharaonic trichology: the Ebers Papyrus". JAMA Dermatol. 149 (8): 920. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.4240. PMID 24026454.
  3. Tan EK, Millington GW, Levell NJ (2009). "Acupuncture in dermatology: an historical perspective". Int J Dermatol. 48 (6): 648–52. doi:10.1111/j.1365-4632.2009.03899.x. PMID 19538380.
  4. Liddell K (2000). "Choosing a dermatological hero for the millennium. Hippocrates of Cos (460-377 BC)". Clin Exp Dermatol. 25 (1): 86–8. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2230.2000.0580d.x. PMID 10671984.
  5. Hajar R (2013). "The air of history (part v) ibn sina (avicenna): the great physician and philosopher". Heart Views. 14 (4): 196–201. doi:10.4103/1995-705X.126893. PMC 3970379. PMID 24696763.
  6. Khalili M, Wong RJ (2018). "Underserved Does Not Mean Undeserved: Unfurling the HCV Care in the Safety Net". Dig Dis Sci. 63 (12): 3250–3252. doi:10.1007/s10620-018-5316-9. PMC 6436636. PMID 30311153.