How effective are coal tar preparations in the treatment of pediatric atopic dermatitis (AD)?

Updated: Apr 26, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Coal tar topical preparations have antipruritic and anti-inflammatory effects. [56] They work as disinfectants and astringents and help to correct abnormal keratinization by decreasing both epidermal proliferation and dermal infiltration. They are effective as second-line agents for subacute, chronic, and lichenified atopic dermatitis. Cosmetically acceptable preparations are available and include AquaTar, Estar, Fototar, PsoriGel, and Neutrogena T/Derm Tar Emollient. Tar shampoos, such as Neutrogena T-Gel, are effective for scalp involvement. Adverse effects may include folliculitis and photosensitivity.

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