Because of their reported antiviral and anti-inflammatory activities, cream formulations containing n-docosanol (docosanol) or stearic acid were tested for effects on chemically-induced burns in mice. In this model, injury was induced by painting the abdomens of mice with a chloroform solution of phenol. This was followed by the topical application of test substances 0.5, 3, and 6 h later. Progression of the wounds was assessed by a single evaluator after 8 h, using a numerical score of gross morphology. Docosanol- and stearic acid-containing creams substantially and reproducibly lessened the severity and progression of skin lesions compared to untreated sites with a 76% and 57% reduction in mean lesion scores, respectively. Untreated wounds appeared red and ulcerated; docosanol cream-treated wounds showed only slight erythema.