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Feet deodorising agents.

This invention relates to a treatment for smelly feet or the like.
Smelly feet, sometimes referred to as osmidrosis or bromidrosis of the feet, is a common and inconvenient condition in which the sufferer is prone to strong offensive foot odours, not necessarily through lack of personal hygiene. These odours are thought to be caused by the presence and growth of unobserved fungi or other micro-organisms.
Phenol and derivatives of it have been used as disinfectants for many years. The present invention, however, provides a new and unexpected use for phenol in the treatment of smelly feet.
According to one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a topical composition for the treatment of smelly feet or the like, comprising a phenol or a derivative thereof, and an inert carrier, for example, polyethylene glycol or other macrogol.
A further aspect of the invention provides a phenol for use in the treatment of smelly feet, and the use of a phenol in the preparation of a composition for treating smelly feet.
According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided a method for the cosmetic treatment of smelly feet or the like, which comprises applying to the relevant part of the body, directly or indirectly, a phenol, preferably in a composition as described above.

Preferably the phenol or phenol composition is applied to a sock or other garment or dressing which is to contact the part of the body to be treated. The treatment is suitably repeated at least daily for a number of days until effective and sustained relief from the offensive odour is obtained.
In order that the invention may be more clearly understood, and readily carried into effect, various embodiments, given by way of example only, will now be described.
In preferred embodiments of this invention, phenol, at a concentration preferably of from 0.5 to 1% w/w, is combined with any suitable inert carrier, depending on the nature of the application, and in a form suitable for topical application to the skin or to the garment, for example as an ointment or aerosol. Other components may be included, for example a hydrocarbon as an adjuvant and stabiliser.
Low molecular weight macrogols, suitably between 800 and 1500, can be used in the compositions of the present invention to form ointments, that can be applied directly to the skin, but preferably to the garment. In one embodiment, a mixture of 1% w/w phenol (melted) in polyethylene glycol (PEG) of m.w.950-1050, .p. 36°C, is formed into a semi-solid emulsion, and incorporated in a push-up 'stick' or 'roll-on' applicator of the well-known type used for the application of topical cosmetics.
Instead of a single macrogol of selected molecular weight, mixtures of macrogols of different molecular weights may be used, for example macrogol 300 with macrogol 3350 or 4000, optionally with other ingredients such as stearyl alcohol, to produce the desired consistency for the product.
Higher molecular weight macrogols, such as 1500 or above (or mixtures that produce the same effect ) , may be used in tablet formulations for addition to a bath for treatment of the affected skin. The tablet suitably contains, in addition to the macrogol, the phenol and other conventional components for formulating bath tablets, i.e. which will dissolve or disperse in the warm bath water. The bath may be of the conventional size for the whole body, or may be a footbath or 'foot spa'.
Lower molecular weight macrogols, e.g. 400 or less, may be used for example for aerosol formulations, together with the phenol and conventional aerosol-forming components.
Compositions that include greater than 1% w/w phenol can be used, if appropriate.
In one method of use, the product, for example as the 'stick' applicator or aerosol, is applied to the inside of the socks, stockings or the like, which are then worn for 24 hours. The procedure is repeated the following day, and on subsequent days until the problem is relieved; usually less than a week.
The compositions hereof are distinguishable by their ability to achieve prolonged contact or proximity between the phenol and the user's skin, in an acceptable and comfortable fashion. In this respect they are distinguishable for example from conventional soaps which impart a greasy and unpleasant sensation to the wearer in use. In general, therefore, substantial amounts of the alkali salts of fatty acids which are conventionally used in soaps would be avoided in compositions of the present invention. Instead of the patient applying the composition, it could be preimpregnated into the footwear or other garment, or the material from which it is made, so that the user can purchase footwear or the like having the property of ameliorating this condition.
Apart from phenol itself, other phenols are likely to have a similar effect; for example halogenated phenols, bisphenols, cresols, xylenols and other alkyl phenols, tar acids, etc. The term "phenol" as used herein is therefore intended to have that broad meaning unless the context indicates otherwise.

Patients were treated according to the following schedule with a composition in the form of a 'stick' applicator comprising 1% w/w phenol (C6H5OH) in PEG 1000 (mw 950-1050, mp 36βC).

Subject Age Period of Application Duration of Subsequent
Affliction Application period free

Based on this, and more anecdotal or anonymously contributed reports, the treatment produced by the present invention seems to give prolonged relief from a short period of regular application.
Although the invention has been applied successfully to the treatment of smelly feet, a similar condition can sometimes arise in other parts of the body, and can be treated similarly.