THE PURPOSE of this report is to record 9 cases of contact dermatitis due to an oxycholesterol-petrolatum ointment base ("aquaphor") and related substances. Many cosmetic preparations contain wool fat and cholesterol, the active ingredient of wool fat. The sensitizing qualities of wool and wool fat are well known, but despite the widespread use of wool fat in many ointment bases and cosmetic creams there are few reports of dermatitis due to its use. The term allergic contact dermatitis is used in the title to differentiate this type of dermatitis from nonallergic contact dermatitis due to primary chemical or mechanical irritants.
In order to have the proper perspective, one should note that this article was written early in 1942, when sulfathiazole ointment had become popular and many articles were being published extolling its value. Only a few authors were reporting cases of contact dermatitis due to this drug, but soon severe
ELLIS FA. ALLERGIC CONTACT DERMATITIS DUE TO WOOL FAT AND CHOLESTEROL. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1947;56(6):801–806. doi:10.1001/archderm.1947.01520120089009