A recent article in Public Health Reports1 discussed editorially in The Journal2 recommends a vanishing cream containing a nonirritating, nonstaining oxidizing agent, such as 10 per cent sodium perborate, as an effective preventive against poison ivy dermatitis. The oxygen liberated by the perborate ointment was said to detoxify the highly allergenic ivy oleoresin. The publicity accorded this new preventive will undoubtedly give many ivy sensitive subjects a false sense of security and result in instances of widespread dermatitis in credulous individuals.
The very stable dermatitis producing fraction of the oleoresin of poison ivy decomposes and becomes inert slowly, if at all, in the presence of large amounts of free oxygen. In my hands this recommended ointment has afforded no greater safeguard against poison ivy dermatitis than has calamine or zinc oxide in vanishing cream, zinc oxide ointment or plain petrolatum, all of which offer only slight mechanical protection.
SHELMIRE B. SODIUM PERBORATE OINTMENT AND POISON IVY DERMATITIS. JAMA. 1941;116(8):681–683. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820080021005
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