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June 1964


Author Affiliations

Lidcombe State Hospital and Home Joseph St New South Wales

Arch Dermatol. 1964;89(6):902. doi:10.1001/archderm.1964.01590300130035

To the Editor:—  Lest anybody, inspired by the enthusiasm of your contributors' article,1 be inclined to prescribe red veterinary petrolatum in lieu of a sunscreen, we venture to voice a word of caution. It is common knowledge that light is absorbed by petrolatum. In a well-documented article this problem was dealt with by H. G. Piper2 as recently as 1963. It is equally well known that cutaneous penetration of this substance occurs which ipso facto, transforms petrolatum from a sunscreen into a photosensitizer. In general any sun-protective cream will produce photosensitization if it is rubbed into the skin vigorously. Hence patients using such a preparation should always be told to apply it gently and to avoid massaging it into the skin.3 The value of petrolatum as a sunscreen in particular is judiciously assessed in the following words of Piper: "Quite definitely one has to warn against preparations

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