Dermatitis (also known as eczema) encompasses many common and important skin diseases. These affect patients of all ages. They include atopic dermatitis - the intensely itchy and distressing disease seen mainly in infancy and childhood - through industrial dermatitis - a major source of handicap and time lost from work in the adult population - to asteatotic eczema - the itchy dry skin associated with ageing. Indeed, there can be few people who are not affected by some form of dermatitis at some point in their lives. Largely because of the high incidence of dermatitis, physicians in many different medical disciplines are regularly involved in its management. This text is intended to help by familiarizing the non-dermatologist reader with the aetiology, diagnosis and treatment of the various forms of this disease.