Antiseptics and cleaning lotions

Simple antiseptics are very useful for cleaning infected, weeping lesions and leg ulcers.

Potassium permanganate can be used by dropping four or five crystals in a litre of water or in an 0-1% solution that is diluted to 0-01% for use as a soak. It will stain the skin temporarily and plastic containers permanently.

Silver nitrate 0-25% is a simple, safe antiseptic solution that, applied as a wet compress, is useful for cleaning ulcers.

Flamazine (Smith and Nephew) is silver sulfadiazine cream, used for leg ulcers, pressure sores, and burns.

Hydrogen peroxide (6%) helps remove slough but tends to be painful. Hioxyl (Quinoderm) is a proprietary cream for desloughing.

Iodine (2-5%) is an old fashioned, effective preparation as a tincture in alcohol and Betadine (Napp) is a proprietary equivalent.

Shampoos. Ceanel concentrate (Quinoderm) contains cetrimide 10%. Ionil T (Galderma) has benzalkonium chloride and coal tar solution, and Betadine (SSL) contains povidone iodine. Shampoos containing selenium sulphide (Selsun, Abbot) and ketokonazole (Nizoral, Janssen) can be used for seborrhoeic dermatitis and also for pityriasis versicolor of the skin.

There are numerous other antiseptic, cleansing, and desloughing agents such as cetrimide, chlorhexidine, benzalkonium chloride, benzoic acid, and enzyme preparations such as Varidase (Lederle), a streptokinase and streptodornase preparation.

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