Complaints of discomfort or of extension of a dermatitis not infrequently follow the application of a bland preparation, such as petrolatum or boric acid ointment. It is frequently difficult to explain this reaction. Is it a mere coincidence; i. e., has the patient been exposed to some other irritating agent? Is the ointment an allergen? Is it a primary irritant? If the last is true, does the irritating action result from the chemical or physical properties of the ointment or from some combination of properties? Is the ointment base or one of the materials added to the base responsible for the irritation? In an attempt to answer some of these questions, a series of patch tests has been performed with many of the commonly used ointment bases, the compositions of which have been fairly well defined. It is hoped that future work will be concerned with the physical action of
RAY LF, BLANK IH. EFFECT OF OINTMENT BASES ON THE SKIN: I. RESULTS OF PATCH TESTS WITH COMMONLY USED OINTMENT BASES. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1940;42(2):285–289. doi:10.1001/archderm.1940.01490140049011
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