a. Powders. Powders are used to dry the affected area of skin.
b. Emollient Baths. These baths are used frequently for their antipruritic effect.
Substances such as starch, Aveeno, and Soyaloid mixed in a bathtub of water can
promote healing or drying of lesions and reduce the itching.
c. Tar Baths. In cases of psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and chronic eczema,
tar baths have proven most effective. Use one-half to one ounce of solution of coal tar,
added to the bath water.
5-12. REDUCTION OF CALLUS AND SCALES
a. The appearance of scales and calluses on the skin are usually the result of
epidermal cells undergoing rapid multiplication. Calluses are most common on the
soles of the feet over the metatarsal bones. Both scales and calluses can be treated by
keratolytics (a substance which causes the epidermis to scale).
b. A keratolytic is an agent that causes sloughing off of the cornified epithelium
(the horny or hard layer of the skin). A keratoplastic (mild keratolytic) effect is seen
when the drug simply softens the keratin and loosens the cornified epithelium.
Keratolytic agents are used to remove warts and corns and to treat severe acne. These
agents are also used in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis.
c. Specific keratolytics include the following agents:
(1) Coal tar. This agent is used as a keratoplastic in the treatment of
eczema, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis.
(2) Resorcinol. Resorcinol is used as a keratoplastic in the treatment of
acne and seborrheic dermatitis.
(3) Salicylic acid. This agent is used as a keratolytic when present in
concentrations of five percent to twenty percent and as a keratoplastic when present in
concentrations of one percent to two percent.
(4) Sulfur. Sulfur is used as a keratoplastic in the treatment of acne and
(5) Tretinoin (Retin-AR). This agent is used in the treatment of severe acne.
The application of the medication to the affected area will produce a horny layer of skin
which is easily removed. It is important that the patient use this preparation as directed
by the physician and package directions. Do not apply this medicine to windburned or
sunburned skin, open wounds, inside the nose, around the eyes, or around the mouth.
The patient should avoid exposing the area being treated to too much wind or sun (or