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June 1960

Failure of Chemical Epilation in the Treatment of Tinea Capitis

Author Affiliations

From Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Division of Dermatology (Dr. Tromovitch) and Department of Microbiology (Dr. Sinski and Miss Hodges).

AMA Arch Derm. 1960;81(6):970-971. doi:10.1001/archderm.1960.03730060086017

Recently a treatment for tinea capitis by selective chemical epilation was described by Benedek.1 His method utilized the following preparation: copper sulfate 5%, chloral hydrate 5%, glycerin 78%, sodium lauryl sulfate 1%, and aqua destillata 11%.

The rationale of this treatment is based on chemical epilation of the infected hairs with consequent mechanical elimination of the fungus rather than an attack on the fungus itself. Topical fungistatic or fungicidal compounds, although effective in vitro in concentrations as low as four parts per million, when used clinically do not regularly and consistently eliminate the infection. Benedek reported that in vitro tests with his compound showed only some fungistatic effect against Microsporum audouini, but he felt this to be inconsequential inasmuch as benefit was to be derived through selective chemical epilation of the infected hairs. X-ray epilation, causing elimination of hair shafts, although generally conceded to be an excellent method of