The term eczema refers to a
set of clinical characteristics. Classification of the underlying
diseases has been haphazard and unsystematic, with many synonyms used to
describe the same condition. A type of eczema may be described by
location (e.g., hand eczema), by specific appearance (eczema craquele or
discoid), or by possible cause (varicose eczema). Further adding to the
confusion, many sources use the term eczema for the most common type of
eczema (atopic dermatitis) interchangeably.
The European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) published a position paper in 2001 which simplifies the nomenclature of allergy-related diseases including atopic and allergic contact eczemas. Non-allergic eczemas are not affected by this proposal.