Topical Chemotherapy of Skin Disease

  • Alan Lyell
Part of the Chemotherapy book series (CT, volume 3)


There is a limited place for topical chemotherapy because few patients have disease (excluding warts) that are primarily due to infection. Impetigo contagiosa, tinea of the open skin, superficial candidal infection and scabies are within reach of and usually amenable to topical agents. Antiseptic skin cleansers are used in acne vulgaris, and to control the carriage of pathogenic staphylococci. The greatest actual use of topical chemotherapy, often in combination with corticosteroids, is made on vague indications, for example in eczema, where there is assumed to be an important infective element. The disadvantages include upsetting the ecology of the skin microflora, breeding resistant pathogens, staining or sensitizing the patient’s skin and producing untoward effects by absorption. The potential sensitizers include the bases of medicaments. Attention is drawn particularly to the insidious clinical picture of sensitization to neomycin, and it is suggested that this antibiotic should be abandoned for topical use.


Contact Dermatitis Candidal Infection Topical Agent Fusidic Acid Benzene Hexachloride 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Lyell
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal InfirmaryGlasgowUK

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