A vast array of clinical entities

Unlike most other organs, which usually count 50-100 diseases, the skin has a complement of

The chapter is based on: Naldi L, Minelli C. Dermatology. In: Day S, Green SB, Machin D, eds. Textbook of Clinical Trials. John Wiley & Sons, to be published in 2003.

1000-2000 conditions, and over 3000 dermatological categories can be found in the International Classification for Disease version 9 (ICD-9). Part of the reason is that the skin is a large and visible organ. In addition to disorders that primarily affect the skin, most of the major systemic diseases (for example disorders of vascular and connective tissues) have cutaneous manifestations. Currently, the widespread use of symptom-based or purely descriptive terms such as parapsoriasis and pityriasis rosea reflects our limited understanding of the causes and pathogenetic mechanisms of a large number of skin disorders. We still lack consensus on a detailed lexicon of dermatological terms used in research and everyday clinical practice.15

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