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Wondering About ‘Scalp Cocktail’
from Clare X.

Hello Ed!  I just skimmed over one of the archives and must have missed it before, but could you let me know more about the scalp cocktail? Sounds like a right concoction!!  I did go to the doctors in the end, but really was a waste of time. Thank you loads. -Clare X


Ed’s Response:  "Scalp cocktail" was a recipe shared between my dermatologist and his favorite compounding pharmacist (i.e., a pharmacist who combines ingredients to come up with non-mass-marketed products).  I know that the formula contained both coal tar extract AND salicylic acid in a gel-like base of some sort. 

According to Neutrogena — the makers of T-Gel and T-Sal, two shampoos — it is difficult-to-impossible to get the coal tar extract and salicylic acid to co-exist.  My compounding pharmacist proved that wrong but admitted “it's damned hard to mix and you have to waste a few batches on the way to getting one right.” 

Since I started using “scalp cocktail,” I heard there are a number of dermatologists with the same or similar concoctions being compounded for their scalp-P patients.  I rather doubt the name ‘scalp cocktail’ is used universally! 

I haven't used the formula in many years now.  I use T-Gel extra strength shampoo and, when my scalp P is active, I put it in my wet hair early in the morning and let it dry before I take my shower.  Then I use Olux Foam (clobetasol propionate) applied after my shower.  I do this because it does not require overnight occlusion.  The scalp cocktail had to be applied at night and worn under a taped-down shower cap.  If I happened to also be wearing food-handlers gloves and 8-gal garbage bags on my feet to occlude them as well, I looked like a lunatic.  I was afraid the house would catch on fire and I'd have to run out into the street in this get up.  The stress of such apprehensions caused my P to get worse.  <wink>  -Ed

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