Various aluminum salts were evaluated for in vitro and in vivo antimicrobial activity and ability to bind with serum proteins (astringency) with the object of finding a colorless substance to substitute for carbol-fuchsin solution (Castellani paint) in the treatment of symptomatic interdigital athlete's foot. Aluminum chlorohydrate was more powerful in killing bacteria and fungi than aluminum acetate and aluminum chloride. However, aluminum chloride showed pronounced astringency and was the only compound to bring about rapid resolution of the signs and symptoms of athlete's foot in open-ended clinical trials. This salt promptly controls odor, pruritus, and maceration. The beneficial effect depends largely on drying the surface, not killing organisms. A solution of 30% aluminum chloride was found to be equivalent to carbol-fuchsin solution in effectively treating symptomatic athlete's foot.
Leyden JJ, Kligman AM. Aluminum Chloride in the Treatment of Symptomatic Athlete's Foot. Arch Dermatol. 1975;111(8):1004-1010. doi:10.1001/archderm.1975.01630200064007