Topical therapy comes in a range of delivery systems, including shampoos, rinses, conditioners, lotions, sprays, creams, and ointments, says Lauren Pinchbeck, DVM, MS, DACVD. So which topical products should you keep handy in daily practice? At the CVC in Washington, D.C., Dr. Pinchbeck recommended that practices start with the following products for treating dermatologic conditions and add on from this staple of basics:
- Lime sulfur dip
- Chlorhexidine shampoo
- Antifungal shampoo
- Benzoyl peroxide shampoo
- Antiseborrheic shampoo
- Humectant/emollient shampoo and spray
- Resicort and Resi Ketochlor (Virbac Animal Health)
- Genesis Topical Spray (Virbac Animal Health)
Water alone can be beneficial as it will moisten the stratum corneum, dry out the epidermis, cool or heat skin, soften crusts, and clean. Shampoos are cleansing and can deliver moisturizers, antipruritics, antimicrobials, antiseborrheics, and a range of ingredients. Efficacy depends on the type and concentration of ingredients and proper use. Rinses are made by mixing a concentrated solution of powders in water. They are poured or sponged on and provide residual benefit.
Moisturizers, antifungals, and astringents may be incorporated. Conditioners increase residual effects and may be used after a bath or daily as a leave-on. They may incorporate antibacterials, antifungals, or antipruritics. Lotions are liquids in which agents are dissolved or suspended. Drying, cooling lotions contain alcohol and soothing moisturizers do not.
Sprays are lotions or rinses applied by pump bottles. The active ingredients are similar to those in shampoos and can contain moisturizers, antibacterials, antifungals, antiseborrheics, or antipruritics. Creams and ointments are mixtures of oil and water. They offer easy application but may be occlusive and messy. They are for localized treatments.