Skip to content

Eczema Health Center

Font Size

Coal Tar for Atopic Dermatitis - Topic Overview

Coal tar is applied to the skin to reduce the itching of atopic dermatitis. It is not as strong as a corticosteroid and can be used as a "bridge therapy" from a stronger medicine when symptoms have improved. Coal tar may also be used for treatment of thick skin (lichenified) if other treatment is not effective.

Coal tar is available as a gel, cream, or ointment or as a solution for the bath. Examples of coal tar preparations include 5% coal tar in a hydro-alcoholic gel (such as Estar) or 5% liquor carbonis detergens in a cream base.

Coal tar preparations are generally thought to be safe. Use coal tar carefully near the eyes or in skin folds. Do not use a tar preparation if your skin rash is very inflamed.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Coal Tar for Atopic Dermatitis Topics

    Today on WebMD

    woman meditating
    Learn how to deal with a key trigger: stress.
    Getting your eczema under control?
    man with eczema
    Does it affect your eczema?
    makeup brushes and foundation
    And be educated when shopping for cosmetics.
    Antipsychotic Drugs Blood Clots
    Eczema Emotional Effects
    young woman touching skin
    Eczema on arm

    Itching for Relief?

    Get Help With the

    Loading ...

    Sending your email...

    This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


    Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.