A Quick History Lesson

The History of Eczema

Eczema is a very old condition, probably as old as man himself. As with many words of western civilization, it originated from the Greek language. When translated into English the word ECZEMA means, “BOIL OUT”.

Eczema first begins as small blisters that are similar in appearance to sago granules. To the Greeks these small eruptions made the skin appear to be “bubbling” or “boiling out” hence the word “boil out” or “eczema” was developed.

The History of Psoriasis

Although the name psoriasis was not introduced for many years the actual condition of
psoriasis was first talked of by the Greek Physician, Hippocrates who lived between 460 and 377 BC.  The condition has indeed been around for a long time, with our current knowledge evolving over hundreds of years.

Psoriasis was again mentioned in the first century by Cornelius Celsus, a Roman author.  Celsus described it as the fourth variant of impetigo, a condition caused by staphlococcus pyogenes.  This condition appears as red patches with watery blisters on the skin.

Joseph Jacob Plenck (Vienna 1776) wrote of Psoriasis as being amongst the group of desquamative (scaly or scale like) diseases.  He did not delve further to differentiate it from other dermatological conditions.

The English dermatologist, Robert Willan (1757 – 1812) recognized psoriasis as an independent disease.  He identified two categories.  Leprosa Graecorum was the term he used to describe the condition when the skin had scales.  Psora Leprosa described the condition when it became eruptive.

In 1841 Ferdinand Hebra, a Viennese dermatologist worked on Willan’s notes and was the first to ascribe the name ‘psoriasis’. It was Hebra who described the clinical picture of psoriasis that is used today.  The hereditary factor of psoriasis had already been established by this time.

The cause of psoriasis is still largely unknown however research into the cause, treatment and ultimate cure continue.

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