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May 1959

Topical Therapy with a New Distilled Bituminous Asphaltite from the Dead Sea

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Fellow in Psychosomatic Dermatology, Department of Dermatology and Department of Psychiatry (Dr. Shanon).

AMA Arch Derm. 1959;79(5):592-593. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560170090019

For many years coal, wood, and shale tars have been among the most valuable therapeutic agents in dermatology. As differentiated from these tars, which are classified as pyrogeneous distillates,1 the subject of this paper is a distilled bituminous asphaltite obtained from the Dead Sea. It was first investigated by the Department of Dermatology, Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, and has been used at that institution for the past 20 years. It was found a valuable therapeutic agent in the treatment of infantile eczema, neurodermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and various types of hand dermatoses and helpful in pemphigus, dermatitis herpetiformis, and other pruriginous dermatoses owing to its high antipruritic properties and its nonirritant character. One of us (J. S.) has used this compound for at least 15 years on over 10,000 cases without noting carcinogenic or untoward side-effects.

These experiences stimulated us to do a preliminary critical