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Br J Dermatol. 2009 Feb;160(2):353-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2008.08907.x. Epub 2008 Oct 23.

Hand eczema classification: a cross-sectional, multicentre study of the aetiology and morphology of hand eczema.

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  • 1Department of Social Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Dermatology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Thibautstr. 3, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany.



Hand eczema is a long-lasting disease with a high prevalence in the background population. The disease has severe, negative effects on quality of life and sometimes on social status. Epidemiological studies have identified risk factors for onset and prognosis, but treatment of the disease is rarely evidence based, and a classification system for different subdiagnoses of hand eczema is not agreed upon. Randomized controlled trials investigating the treatment of hand eczema are called for. For this, as well as for clinical purposes, a generally accepted classification system for hand eczema is needed.


The present study attempts to characterize subdiagnoses of hand eczema with respect to basic demographics, medical history and morphology.


Clinical data from 416 patients with hand eczema from 10 European patch test clinics were assessed.


A classification system for hand eczema is proposed.


It is suggested that this classification be used in clinical work and in clinical trials.

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