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Keratolytics for Skin Scales and Flakes

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Updated January 28, 2008

Keratolytics are medications designed to dissolve skin flakes and scales. Removing these scales not only improves the appearance of the skin and minimizes dandruff, it also helps other topical medications to penetrate the skin better.

Most keratolytics are available over the counter. The ingredients most commonly found in keratolytics include salicylic acid, urea, lactic acid and phenol. Ask your pharmacist for recommendations of products containing these ingredients.

Home remedy: You also can use olive oil to remove scales. It can be left on overnight under a shower cap. In the morning, the oil is washed out (this can be done with a keratolytic shampoo) and the softened skin flakes can be removed by brushing or combing.

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