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(Science: dermatology) a pruritic papulovesicular dermatitis occurring as a reaction to many endogenous and exogenous agents.

It is characterised in the acute stage by erythema, oedema associated with a serous exudate between the cells of the epidermis (spongiosis) and an inflammatory infiltrate in the dermis, oosing and vesiculation and crusting and scaling and in the more chronic stages by lichenification or thickening or both, signs of excoriations and hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation or both. Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of dermatitis.

Synonym: eczematous dermatitis.

Origin: gr. Ekzein = to boil out