Scaly and crusty skin ointment

A combination of salicylic acid and coal tar to help remove crusts and scale from the skin, and relieve inflammation

Also known as

Salicylic acid/coal tar/sulfur/coconut oil ointment, Coco-scalp

Usual dosage

Route of administration:



once daily

How to take

Apply to crusty or scaly skin and leave in place for one hour only. Wash off. Use daily. Maximum results may require 2-3 weeks of treatment.



This drug has been taken by only a limited number of pregnant women and women of childbearing age, without an increase in the frequency of malformation or other direct or indirect harmful effects on the human foetus having been observed.


You should not apply this cream/ointment while breastfeeding



Drug interactions

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Coal tar 12%, salicylic acid 6%, sulfur 2%, coconut oil

Spot Check Clinic’s scaly and crusty skin ointment is made to our specifications to help improve dry and scaly skin conditions.

The ointment is used to:

  • Gently dissolve patches of crusted or scaly skin
  • Relieve inflammation caused by scaly dermatitis
  • Moisturise dry skin

Conditions treated

Overgrown and raised solar keratoses

Solar keratoses, also known as “sun spots”, are a form of pre-cancerous sun damage which usually appear as rough pink patches on sun-exposed areas. Sometimes they are raised with a thick crusted surface which needs to be removed before they can be treated.

Seborrhoeic keratoses

A seborrheic keratosis is a crusty or waxy thickening of the top layer of skin. The salicylic acid in our scaly and crusty skin ointment can help to dissolve these crusts. This can be a useful treatment if there are too many seborrheic keratoses to treat by other means such as freezing.

Seborrhoeic dermatitis

Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a rash which commonly affects the scalp and causes itch, irritation and flaky skin (dandruff). The salicylic acid in the ointment can help to clear the scale from the skin, while the coal tar and sulfur treat the inflammation of the skin relieving itchiness.

How to use

We often recommend a course of scaly and crusty skin ointment before treating conditions of the underlying skin, for example before a course of prescription cream for treating a large area of solar keratoses.

  1. Apply a thin film of ointment to areas of crusty or flaky skin. If treating the scalp, you may need to comb the hair to make apart to apply a thin line of ointment. Gently rub into the skin. Wash ointment off your hands after applying.
  2. Leave the ointment in place for one hour. There is no need to leave the ointment on the skin for any longer than one hour — it won’t increase the effect.
  3. Wash off with a mild cleanser such as Cetaphil or CeraVe, or with a mild shampoo if on your scalp.

Maximum results are achieved after about 2 weeks of daily treatment.

If you are using the ointment to treat mild seborrhoeic dermatitis/dandruff, you may only need to use it once per week.

Side effects

Scaly and crusty skin ointment may cause side effects in some people. These include

  • A tingling or burning sensation
  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Redness of the skin
  • Pimple-like inflammation of hair follicles

If any of these side effects cause significant discomfort, you should stop using the ointment.


Do not use the scaly and crusty skin ointment in the following situations:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • The area is sunburnt, has a rash or is already irritated
  • You are allergic or sensitive to salicylic acid, coal tar, sulfur or coconut oil
  • You have an infection of the skin in the area to be treated
  • You have pustular psoriasis

Scaly and crusty skin ointment should not be used on children under 12 years old.

Keep scaly and crusty skin ointment away from your eyes. If any gets in the eyes, immediately wash out with a large amount of cold running water.

The coal tar in scaly and crusty skin ointment can cause staining of clothing, sheets and jewellery.


Store below 25 degrees in a dry, dark place.


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