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December 1960

Evaluation of Sodium Chloride Ointments in the Treatment of Ichthyosis Vulgaris

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia.

Arch Dermatol. 1960;82(6):998-1001. doi:10.1001/archderm.1960.01580060154025


The treatment of ichthyosis vulgaris has always been a vexing problem. Many topical preparations have been used, and among the more interesting was Ljungström's employment of sodium chloride-containing baths and ointments.1 Certain observations suggested this line of treatment to Ljungström. Upon examining a case of untreated ichthyosis vulgaris, he was impressed by the typical sparing of flexural surfaces, especially the popliteal, antecubital, axillary, and inguinal areas. He noted that the patient sweated significantly only in these relatively normal locations, and assumed a beneficial effect of sweat, particularly of the salt in the sweat. Acting on these assumptions, Ljungström treated one patient with daily baths containing 3% sodium chloride and with inunctions of sodium chloride-containing ointments. There was dramatic improvement, documented by photographs, and the author stated the improvement was maintained by applying an ointment containing 10% sodium chloride once a day.

There are several references in the dermatologic literature

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