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May 1, 1943


Author Affiliations

Kansas City, Mo. Assistant Professor of Dermatology, University of Kansas School of Medicine

JAMA. 1943;122(1):34-35. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.72840180001012

Olive oil, Olea europaea sativa (Oleum olivae, U. S. P.), is generally believed completely bland on topical application. Many a dermatologic prescription contains it. I have, however, observed trouble resulting from its use. When it is applied to "dry scalp" (seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp) the dandruff is regularly made worse. When it is applied to senile pruritus the result is often unfavorable. Olive oil is not different from any other greasy substance when applied to superficial, vesiculating, autoinoculable, staphylococcic dermatitis, generally known as "infectious eczematoid dermatitis." In this condition any unguent smears the parasites about, prevents their drying and promotes spread of the disease.

In the case which I report here the dermatitis was present for more than ten years and its maintenance was evidently due solely to olive oil, for interdiction of its use was followed by prompt cure. As I1 have emphasized previously, the cure of