BENZOIC acid + SALICYLIC acid ointment = Whitfield’s ointment

Therapeutic action

– Fungistatic and keratolytic agent


– Dermatophyte infection of the scalp (tinea capitis), in combination with a systemic antifungal
– Dermatophyte infection of the glabrous skin and skin folds:
• alone, if lesions are localised, non-extensive
• in combination with a systemic antifungal, if the lesions are extensive

Forms and strengths

– Benzoic acid 6% + salicylic acid 3% ointment, tube or jar


– Child and adult: one application 2 times daily, in a thin layer, to clean and dry skin


– 3 to 6 weeks, depending on clinical response

Contra-indications, adverse effects, precautions

– Do not apply to exudative lesions, mucous membranes or eyes.
– May cause: skin irritation, local benign inflammation.
– In case of secondary bacterial infection, start appropriate local or systemic treatment before applying Whitfield’s ointment.
– In case of contact with eyes or mucous membranes, flush immediately with plenty of water.
– Pregnancy: no contra-indication
– Breast-feeding: no contra-indication


– Whitfield’s ointment is not included in the WHO list of essential medicines.
– Storage: below 25 °C - 
Once the ointment has been exposed to a high temperature, the active ingredients are no longer evenly distributed: the ointment must be homogenized before using.