Drugs Acting on the Skin

Drugs acting on the skin are commonly used to relieve dryness and itching, to reduce inflammation, or to treat skin infections and infestations. Most treatments are applied directly to the skin as ointments, creams, or gels. Treatment with oral drugs may be necessary if a skin condition is severe or widespread.

The first article in this section covers emollients and barrier preparations, which are widely used to moisturize the skin and to protect it against the effects of irritant substances. Retinoid drugs, discussed next, are used to treat specific disorders, such as severe acne.

The following two articles in this section cover antipruritic drugs, which are used to relieve itching, and topical corticosteroids, which may be given to reduce inflammation of the skin. Preparations that are applied to the skin to treat infections and infestations are discussed next. Oral anti-infective drugs to treat the skin are described elsewhere (see Drugs for infections and infestations).

The final article covers sunscreens and sunblocks, which protect the skin against the damaging effects of the sun. Drug treatments for other specific disorders are discussed elsewhere (see Skin, hair, and nails).

Key anatomy

For more information about the structure and function of the skin, see Growth and Repair.

Emollients and Barrier Preparations

Retinoid Drugs

Antipruritic Drugs

Topical Corticosteroids

Preparations for Skin Infections and Infestations

Sunscreens and Sunblocks

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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