What you should know about aluminum acetate and shingles

Aluminum acetate

Aluminum acetate is a substance found in certain topical treatments that are intended to reduce skin irritation. Some people may consider using aluminum acetate to relieve the symptoms of shingles’ characteristic painful rash.

Shingles is a viral infection caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, the virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles are relatively prevalent, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating that one in every three people in the United States may have shingles at some point in their lives.

A painful rash that usually occurs on one side of the body is a common sign of shingles. Most cases of shingles persist for 3–5 weeks, during which time the rash may blister and crust over, causing discomfort.

Although there is no known cure for shingles, there are numerous treatment alternatives. People with shingles may consider utilizing aluminum acetate to treat their symptoms because it can help reduce inflammation and itching. However, this is not a usual application for the product, as aluminum acetate can occasionally cause adverse skin reactions.

In this post, we will look at aluminum acetate, its use, and whether it can assist with shingles.

What is aluminum acetate?

Aluminum acetate

Aluminum acetate is a topical astringent that can be used to relieve minor skin irritation. The product is available in a variety of formulations, including creams, gels, and a powder that can be mixed with water to create a solution known as Burow’s solution. The various formulations typically include 0.13–0.5% aluminum acetate.

Aluminum acetate, as an astringent, causes tissues such as the skin to tighten or contract, which can help relieve inflammation, itching, and stinging. Many pharmacies and drugstores sell the medication over the counter (OTC).

Can it help treat shingles?

Although some people use aluminum acetate as a topical astringent, there isn’t much proof that it helps with shingles symptoms.

Many product labels do not mention treating shingles as a possible application for aluminum acetate. Aluminum acetate can provide brief relief from rashes caused by soaps, detergents, cosmetics, jewelry, or plants, according to FDA labeling standards, but there is no mention of shingles.

However, according to some sources, aluminum acetate can help reduce the symptoms of this condition as well as dry out the blisters.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), people can treat shingles medically by taking antivirals or anti-inflammatories, but to limit discomfort, the organization recommends using damp washcloths, oatmeal soaks, and calamine lotion.

What other conditions can it help treat?

Aluminum acetate can help reduce the pain and irritation caused by mild skin problems like:

  • minor burns
  • athlete’s foot
  • rashes from poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac
  • rashes due to soaps, detergents, cosmetics, or jewelry
  • insect bites

Side effects and safety

It is important to note that aluminum acetate can occasionally cause the skin instead of curing it. As a result, anyone utilizing this product for the first time should proceed with caution and monitor for any side effects. They should also avoid using aluminum acetate in close proximity to their eyes, since it might cause severe eye discomfort.

If the skin condition worsens or the symptoms persist, the product label may advise users to discontinue use and seek medical attention. Because the product is only intended for external use, it is also important to keep it out of the reach of minors and to seek emergency medical attention if it is swallowed.

How to use

When using aluminum acetate, according to the instructions on the product label. People who use topical formulations, such as creams and gels, can simply apply the substance to their skin as needed. To make a soak or wet dressing, mix one to three packets in 16 ounces of cool or warm water and stir until completely dissolved.

People can utilize aluminum acetate as a soak by:

  • repeating this three times a day
  • soaking the affected area for 15–30 minutes as necessary or as a doctor has directed
  • discarding the solution after each use

People can use it as a compress by:

  • repeating this as necessary or according to a doctor’s instructions
  • discarding the solution after each use
  • applying the cloth loosely to the affected area for 15–30 minutes
  • soaking a clean, soft cloth in the solution

How to cope with shingles

To treat shingles, people can attempt a number of prescription treatments, over-the-counter medications, and home therapies. These are some examples:

Antiviral therapies

Antiviral medications that doctors may use to treat shingles include:

  • valacyclovir (Valtrex)
  • famciclovir (Famvir)
  • acyclovir (Zovirax)

Antiviral medications are most effective when taken within 2–3 days of the onset of the shingles rash.

Anti-inflammatory and pain medications

To relieve the pain of shingles, a person can take over-the-counter pain medications. A doctor may also prescribe drugs to help with pain relief. Here are several examples:

  • gabapentin (Neurontin)
  • pregabalin (Lyrica)
  • corticosteroids
  • lidocaine transdermal patch
  • tricyclic antidepressants, such as nortriptyline (Pamelor)

Home remedies

Possible home remedies for shingles include:

  • taking oatmeal baths, which may help relieve itching
  • getting enough sleep
  • eating nutritious foods to help boost the immune system
  • applying calamine lotion
  • practicing regular stress management techniques

Shingles vaccination

The CDC advises that healthy adults aged 50 and over receive the Shingrix shingles vaccine. A pharmacist or doctor administers two doses of the vaccine two to six months apart.


Aluminum acetate is a common topical therapy that relieves skin irritation. Some people may think about utilizing it to alleviate the relief of a shingles rash. However, because aluminum acetate can irritate the skin further, it is best to consult with a doctor beforehand.

Other therapy options, including as antivirals, can aid in the treatment of shingles, while the Shingrix vaccine can aid in its prevention. Other home cures that people may consider include oatmeal baths, calamine lotion, and stress-reduction techniques.


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