Best whitfield ointment uses, ingredients and side effects

What is a whitfield ointment:-

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Whitfield ointment uses

Whitfield’s ointment is named after a British dermatologist, Arthur Whitfield. It is the ointment that consumes the fungistatic action of benzoic acid (6%) and keratolytic action of Salicylic Acid (3%). Its main use is in the treatment of superficial fungal infection of the skin i.e. superficial dermatophytosis.

whitfield ointment uses, ingredients and side effects
Whitfield ointment

Properties of an ideal ointment:-

  1. Stability:- Ointment should be physically & chemically stable i.e. ingredients should not interact with each other and should be stable till desire effect is obtained.
  2. The active ingredients should be homogeneously dispensed in the vehicle.
  3. The ointment should not have any irritating or damaging property to the part on which it is being applied.
  4.  It should be smooth & non-gritty in nature and free from hard particles.
  5.  It should be easy to apply so that it easily spreads and should have sufficient penetration power.
  6. It should be uniformly distributed and should be able to release medicament at body temperature.
  7. It should be cheap and readily available.

Types of ointment: –

1. Epidermic ointment:- It acts on the surface of the skin & has poor penetration. It is used as an astringent, antiseptic, and protective agent eg. Betadine ointment.

2. Endodermie ointment:- It penetrates the deep layers of skin but does not appear in circulation.It forms a film over the skin thereby preventing evaporation and maintaining the elasticity of the skin. Eg. Demodex ointment. It partly penetrates the skin & used as an emollient or analgesic.

3. Diadermic ointment:- It can penetrate the various layers of skin. So, it can produce systemic effects. E.g. nitroglycerin ointment.

It is absorbed from the surface of the skin and has a systemic effect.


Benzoic Acid 0.6 gm

Salicylic Acid 0.3 gm

Vaseline ad 10 gm

-M. ft. ung. One, send such.

-To be applied on the affected part twice daily for 3-4 months.

Whitfield ointment Procedure of Preparation:-

1. Weigh 0.6 gm of Benzoic Acid and 0.3 gm of Salicylic Acid and take it in a mortar.

2. Make them a fine powder by a pestle.

3. Take this powder on a tile to which Vaseline gradually and mix it well with the help of a spatula to make it 10 gm. Put it on the paper and label it properly.

Whitfield ointment ingredients & it’s different role:-

1. Benzoic Acid:- It has antifungal and antibacterial activity in an acidic medium(It is fungistatic in nature). Since it is fungistatic, it needs to be applied for a longer period to allow the host to get eradicated from fungus. It inhibits glycolysis which causes less ATP generation and thus fungal growth is inhibited.

2. Salicylic Acid:- It acts as a Keratolytic agent. The keratolytic substance dissolves the intercellular substance in the horny layer of skin. The epidermal cells swell, soften, then desquamate. Keratolytic action removes the infected tissues& promotes penetration of Benzoic Acid in the lesion. It also provides an acidic medium to benzoic acid for better action.

3. Vaseline:- vehicle

Whitfield ointment uses:-

whitfield ointment uses

(a) It is used for the treatment of superficial fungal infection of skin, hairs & nails i.e. Superficial dermatophytosis. This fungus mainly belongs to 3 genus: 1. Trichophyton 2. Microsporum 3. Epidermophyton

(b) It is also used in callus and corn.

Fungal infections is named according to body part affected:-

T. Capitis – a fungal infection of the head (for 2 weeks)

T. Corporis – a fungal infection of the body (for 2-4 weeks),

T. barbae – a fungal infection of the beard (for 2 weeks)

T. manuum – a fungal infection of hands (for 2 weeks)

T. unguium – a fungal infection of nails (for 2 months)

T.pedis -fungal infection of the foot (for 4 weeks)

What is a Whitfield ointment side effects:-

1. Mild cold or burning sensation at the site of application.

2. Severe allergic reaction.

3. Redness, irritation at the site of application.

Other drugs for the treatment of superficial fungal infection:-

  1. Systemic – Fluconazole, Itraconazole and Griseofulvin.
  2. Topical -Terbinafine, Nystatin and clotrimazole

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