From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Keratolytic (/ˌkɛrətˈlɪtɪk/[1][2]) therapy is treatment to remove warts, calluses and other lesions in which the epidermis produces excess skin. In this therapy, acid medicine, such as Whitfield's ointment or Jessner's solution are put on the lesion. Keratolytic therapy thins the skin on and around the lesion. It causes the outer layer of the skin to loosen and shed.[3]

Keratolytics can also be used to soften keratin, a major component of the skin. This serves to improve the skin's moisture binding capacity, which is beneficial in the treatment of dry skin. Such agents (keratolytics) include alkali (by swelling and hydrolysis of skin), salicylic acid, urea, lactic acid, allantoin, glycolic acid, and trichloroacetic acid.[4]

While cytostatic agents such as zinc pyrithione are first line, keratolytics (salicylic acid and sulfur) can also be used in the treatment of dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis.

Sulfur and salicylic acid can also be used to effectively treat acne and cradle cap in some patients. Resorcinol is another keratolytic that is usually combined with sulfur.[4] Urea acts as a keratolytic due to its hygroscopic property.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Keratolytic". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  2. ^ "Keratolytic". Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  3. ^ Dorland. "The Definition of Keratolytic". Elsevier. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  4. ^ a b Goodless, Dean. "Keratolytic medications for skin scales and flakes". Retrieved 8 August 2012.