(1) Antibiotics. Antibiotics may be used topically when there is an infection in the skin, either primary or secondary. The infection should always be present before the antibiotic is used. The prophylactic (preventive) use of topical antibiotics is dangerous because these drugs have a higher than usual incidence of sensitivity reactions when used in this manner.

(2) Steroids. The numerous synthetic steroid preparations have been of great assistance to the dermatologist. Many diseases will be controlled by steroids after all other means of treatment have failed. Steroids usually are given systemically, and they may cause serious consequences; therefore, steroids are normally used only after other means of therapy have failed. The topical use of steroids, however, is effective and safe because negligible quantities are absorbed, even through raw lesions.

(3) Antipyretics. Aspirin and acetaminophen are the most effective agents available for reducing temperatures.

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