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January 1942


Arch Derm Syphilol. 1942;45(1):154-155. doi:10.1001/archderm.1942.01500070158014

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To the Editor:—  At the session of the American Academy of Dermatology and Syphilology just concluded (December 1941, New York) abundant consideration was given to wetting agents, their nature and uses. I fear, however, that one possible effect of their use was entirely ignored. I refer to their influence on the character of keratin (surface of the skin) as a permeable membrane. One seeks to maintain for the cutaneous surface a high degree of impermeability (protective surface); yet it has been demonstrated that use of wetting agents in the compounding of topical mixtures has influenced its permeability profoundly.I have demonstrated that the oleoresinous irritant in rhus can be extracted as effectively with "wetted" water as with acetone and has the same irritative index for skin as has the latter. Colleagues working with the same principle are rendering the skin completely permeable to many complex substances, including common allergens.While

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