WHAT ARE KERATOLYTIC AGENTS AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
- Keratolytic agents work in the following ways on the skin cells:
- Softening the keratin (a type of protein that makes up your hair, skin, and nails) layer of the skin
- Reducing swelling and redness
- Increasing the amount of moisture in the skin
- Dissolving the substances that cause the skin cells to stick together
- Unplugging the blocked skin pores
- Allowing the pimples/infections to shrink
- Loosening the dry, scaly, or thickened skin
- Peeling of dead skin cells
- Preventing the production of excess skin cells
These products are not recommended for use on birthmarks, warts with hair growing from them, or genital/anal warts.
HOW ARE KERATOLYTIC AGENTS USED?
Skin conditions treated with keratolytic agents include the following:
- Psoriasis (a skin disease in which red, scaly patches form on some areas of the body)
- Warts on hands or feet
- Corns (a thick, localized area that usually has a popular, conical, or circular shape)
- Human papillomavirus infection
- Skin blemishes
- Ichthyoses (inborn conditions that cause skin dryness and scaling)
- Calluses (thick, hardened layers of skin that develop when the skin tries to protect itself against friction and pressure)
- Keratosis pilaris (a common, harmless skin condition that causes dry, rough patches, and tiny bumps)
- Seborrheic dermatitis (scaly patches, red skin, and stubborn dandruff)
HOW TO USE KERATOLYTIC AGENTS?
Keratolytic agents may be used several times a day, depending on the condition being treated. Follow all the directions on the label for proper use:
- Clean the infected skin with water
- Pad gently to dry the area
- Apply the ointment/cream/gel on the affected area gently
- Do not rub the area
- Let it dry for 5 minutes
- Wash off the hands after use
WHAT ARE SIDE EFFECTS OF KERATOLYTIC AGENTS?
Common side effects include:
- Slight burning
- Skin peeling
- Skin irritation
- Stinging in the area applied
Other rare side effects include:
- Spreading skin redness around the treated area
- Signs of infection (pus, milky/bloody discharge)
- Formation of a deep sore (ulcer) at the treatment site
- Severe dizziness (feeling faint/weak/unsteady)
- Trouble breathing
- Extreme tiredness/weakness
- Ringing or buzzing in the ears
- Hearing loss
- Serious allergic reaction
- Swelling especially of face/tongue/throat
Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.
WHAT ARE DRUG NAMES OF KERATOLYTIC AGENTS?
Drug names include:
- Anthralin (psoriatec, dritho-scalp, zithranol-RR)
- Pyrithione zinc (denorex, head & shoulders shampoo, zincon shampoo)
- Salicylic acid (Dr. Scholl’s Callus Removers, mediplast, Trans-Ver-Sal PlantarPatch)
- Podofilox (condylox)
- Salicylic acid/sulfur (sebex, MG217 Medicated Tar-Free Shampoo)
- Coal tar (DHS Tar, Ionil T Plus, Polytar Shampoo, TeraGel, Zetar)