(3) Sprays (aerosols). Sprays are particularly good for moist skin lesions.
Medication applied directly to the affected area could cause additional irritation from
rubbing and more contamination and infection. Sprays are usually applied several
times a day. Shake the container before using; then, with the can upright, spray the
affected area from a distance of 3 to 6 inches. A spray of 2 to 3 seconds at a time is
usually sufficient. To spray longer is a waste of medication. Sprays that contain
corticosteroid and antibiotic-steroid medication include Diloderm, Neo-Diloderm, Meti-
Derm with neomycin, and Tarcortin. A spray over which a bandage can be put is
Betadine, which is nonstinging and nonstaining. Anesthetic sprays include
Americaine and Tronothane. A common antifungal spray is Desenex. Two foams
that come in aerosol containers are Aristoderm (a steroid spray) and Neo-Aristoderm
(a steroid preparation). Apply foams by holding the can upside down next to the skin.
(4) Hydrocarbons. Medications containing hydrocarbons (a compound of
hydrogen and carbon) are protective and greasy. Hydrocarbons are a stable medium
for lipid soluble antibiotics. White petrolatum (Vaseline) and mineral oil are examples
of this type of medication. These skin medications have a soothing effect on chapped,
irritated skin. The medication holds water in the skin and acts as a barrier for all outside
irritants--air, wind, and dirt. Podophyllum is an example of a medication used in
combination with hydrocarbons.
(5) Gels. Like hydrocarbon medications, gels act as a barrier against any
outside irritant like dirt or wind. A gel can change from a solid to a liquid and from a
liquid to a solid, having the advantages of both.
(6) Adherent dressings. These dressings are coated with a substance that
helps the affected skin area dry. Adherent dressings also prevent irritation of the
adjoining skin tissues. Substances that can be used on adherent dressings are tincture
of benzoin and flexible collodion.
TYPES OF TREATMENT FOR DERMATOLOGICAL DISORDERS
Dermatological agents are drugs that exert either a chemical or physical action
on the skin to aid in the correction of a skin disorder. In recent years, there have been a
flood of new drugs so that now there are a large number of drugs. In an effort to reduce
confusion and promote understanding, this classification of drugs dealing with skin
problems has been made:
a. Antipruritic agents--medications that relieve symptoms but do not cure the
b. Anti-inflammatory agents--steroids that reduce inflammation.
c. Anti-infective agents--medications that remove invasive or causative
d. Antiparasitic agents--drugs that destroy the itch mite.