Topical application of docosanol- or stearic acid-containing creams reduces severity of phenol burn wounds in mice

Contact Dermatitis. 2000 Aug;43(2):79-81. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0536.2000.043002079.x.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Burns, Chemical / drug therapy*
  • Burns, Chemical / etiology
  • Burns, Chemical / prevention & control*
  • Dermatitis, Contact / drug therapy*
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Contact / prevention & control*
  • Disinfectants / adverse effects
  • Fatty Alcohols / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Irritants / adverse effects*
  • Mice
  • Phenol / adverse effects*
  • Sclerosing Solutions / adverse effects
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stearic Acids / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Disinfectants
  • Fatty Alcohols
  • Irritants
  • Sclerosing Solutions
  • Stearic Acids
  • Phenol
  • stearic acid
  • docosanol