Whitfield's ointment

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Whitfield's ointment is salicylic acid and benzoic acid in a suitable base, such as lanolin or vaseline.
The original ointment contains 3% salicylic acid and 6% benzoic acid, but other ratios are also used.[1][2][3]

It is used for the treatment of fungal infections, such as athlete's foot. It can have a slight burning effect that goes away after a few minutes. A systematic review of the medical literature examining all treatments for ringworm and jock itch was generally critical of the quality of data available. It concluded that there was "insufficient evidence to determine if Whitfield's ointment, a widely used agent is effective".[4] This means the studies executed were poor, not that Whitfield's ointment is necessarily ineffective. Individual studies, for instance "Treatment of superficial mycoses in the tropics: Whitfield's ointment versus clotrimazole"[5] support its use as a cost-effective treament.

It is named after Arthur Whitfield (1868–1947), a British dermatologist.[6]


  1. ^ Lionel Fry, An atlas of dermatology
  2. ^ Whitfield Ointment
  3. ^ Electronic Textbook of Dermatology, Common Dermatologic Diseases
  4. ^ El-Gohary, M; van Zuuren, EJ; Fedorowicz, Z; Burgess, H; Doney, L; Stuart, B; Moore, M; Little, P (Aug 4, 2014). "Topical antifungal treatments for tinea cruris and tinea corporis". The Cochrane database of systematic reviews. 8: CD009992. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009992.pub2. PMID 25090020. 
  5. ^ Gooskens V, Pönnighaus JM, Clayton Y, Mkandawire P, Sterne JA (1994). "Treatment of superficial mycoses in the tropics: Whitfield's ointment versus clotrimazole". Int J Dermatol. 33 (10): 738–42. doi:10.1111/j.1365-4362.1994.tb01524.x. PMID 8002148. 
  6. ^ http://www.merriam-webster.com Whitfield's ointment