Treatment of tinea with a fungicidal dye was suggested some years ago by Castellani,1 who painted carbolfuchsin in ringworms of the foot and of the groin. For lesions secondarily infected or moist, he recommended this rather than methods of treatment in common use.
Dyes do not have as powerful fungicidal as bactericidal property. Farley2 found that dermatophytes tolerated greater concentrations of gentian violet than bacteria and used the dye in his mediums for the isolation of fungi, to retard bacterial contamination. Cultures of various microsporons and trichophytons on Sabouraud's agar withstood concentrations varying from 1: 166,000 to 1:41,000. Of the several dyes that may be used, neither fuchsin nor gentian violet is the most strongly inhibitive to fungus growth. With concentrations similar to Farley's, Leonian3 found the restraint erratic, owing to technical variations, but definitely greater with malachite green than with gentian (crystal) violet.
SPILLER WF, SHARP WB, JOHN MB. TREATMENT OF RINGWORM OF THE SCALP WITH GENTIAN VIOLET. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1940;41(2):370–377. doi:10.1001/archderm.1940.01490080179010
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