Coal tar - topical

Patient Medicine Information
Why do I need this medicine?
Coal Tar is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat certain skin problems such as psoriasis (a type of skin disease that is caused by itchy patches of thick, red skin and silvery scales), dandruff (a skin condition characterised by flaking of skin on the scalp), and seborrhoeic dermatitis (a skin condition that causes scaly patches, red skin and dandruff on the scalp).

Coal Tar may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
How do I use this medicine?
Apply Coal Tar exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not use more often or over a larger area than instructed by your doctor.

Coal Tar is available as oil, cream, ointment, gel, lotion, solution, foam, shampoo, or soap.

If you are using oil, cream, ointment, gel, lotion, or solution, follow these steps:
  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Clean and dry affected area before application.
  3. Gently massage the oil, cream, ointment, gel, lotion, or solution gently on the skin until it disappears. Do not cover, wrap or bandage the area unless instructed by the doctor.
  4. Wash your hands after using.
  5. Replace the cap of the tube.
If you are using foam, follow these steps:
  1. Wash your hands.
  2. For topical foam, turn the container upside-down and put small amount of the preparation onto affected areas of the skin. Do not place directly into your hands.
  3. Rub this medicine gently on the skin or scalp until it disappears. Do not cover, wrap or bandage the area unless instructed by the doctor.
  4. Wash your hands after using.
If you are using the shampoo, follow these steps:
  1. Wet your hair before using the shampoo.
  2. Apply gently onto the scalp and massage shampoo into the scalp.
  3. Leave it on for 5 minutes.
  4. Rinse your hair and scalp thoroughly and repeat.
  5. Do not cover, wrap or bandage the area unless instructed by the doctor.
  6. Rinse your hair and scalp. Wash it thoroughly and let your hair dry.
  7. Wash your hands after using.
If you are using the solution or oil as bath additive, follow these steps:
  1. Add appropriate amount of Coal Tar to a bath of lukewarm water, as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label.
  2. Soak for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Pat the skin dry with a soft towel.
If you are using the soap, follow these steps:
  1. Use on affected areas in place of your regular soap.
  2. Work into a lather and massage into skin.
  3. Rinse thoroughly.
What should I do if I have forgotten to use this medicine?
Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.

DO NOT double a dose to make up for a missed dose.
When should I not use this medicine?
Do not apply on areas that are inflamed, very tender or discharging fluid or pus.

Do not apply on infected skin.

Do not apply to rectal and genital areas without instructions from your doctor.
What should I take note of while using this medicine?
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving this medicine to a child.

Avoid exposure to open flame, fire or smoking during or after application.

Coal tart will stain the skin, hair and nails, but will gradually disappear within a few days after stopping your treatment. You may use disposable gloves when applying this medicine. Avoid contact with fabrics, plastics and other materials as Coal tar may permanently stain them.

Certain factors such as dry and cold weather, stress, trauma to the skin, infections, alcohol, and smoking can trigger or worsen psoriasis. Take good care of your skin by keeping it clean, moisturized and free from cuts and infections. Avoid going out during dry and cold weather. Learn to manage your stress, avoid alcohol, and quit smoking. Regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight are also good for your overall health and wellness.
What side effects could I experience?
Coal Tar may cause any of the following side effects: skin or scalp irritation, acne-like skin conditions, and staining of cloth, skin and hair.

Coal Tar may also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Apply sunscreen when going outdoors and avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight and UV lamps.

Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Can I use this with other medicines?
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Avoid alcohol.
How should I store this medicine?
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.

Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.

Store the topical foam at temperature between 20-25°C. Keep away from heat or open flame, or while smoking. Do not puncture the container.
This information is independently developed by MIMS based on coal tar - topical and is provided for your reference only. It is not a replacement for and should only be used in conjunction with full consultation with a licensed healthcare professional, the information provided by your pharmacist and/or the manufacturer of the medication. It may not contain all the available information you require and cannot substitute professional medical care, nor does it take into account all individual circumstances. Although great effort has been made to ensure content accuracy, we shall not be held responsible or liable for any claims or damages arising from the use or misuse of the information contained herein, its contents or omissions, or otherwise. Copyright © 2021 MIMS. All rights reserved. Powered by
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