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Crude coal tar is probably one of the most efficient and useful substances employed in the practice of dermatology. Many dermatologists have insisted that their prescriptions for ointments and pastes containing coal tar be dispensed with a black or nearly black color. If this color was not obtained, these practitioners believed that the expected therapeutic results would not be obtained. As a result, by custom and tradition, it has been the practice of many dermatologists in prescribing these formulas to refer their patients to pharmacists who dispense ointments and pastes containing coal tar and zinc oxide with a black or nearly black color. The black color is obtained by mixing the zinc oxide with the coal tar before incorporating any of the base. This procedure is contrary to accepted pharmaceutic technic and usually results in a rather gritty preparation, since there is no opportunity for
DOWNING JG, OHMART LM, DICICCO G. COAL TAR IN DERMATOLOGIC PREPARATIONS. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1944;49(6):421–422. doi:10.1001/archderm.1944.01510120035008
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