Zugsalbe is usually made from shale oil and contains ammonium bituminosulphate: an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and circulation-enhancing active ingredient. But what is even more important: It accelerates the healing process by literally “pulling” the focus of inflammation to the surface of the skin, allowing the pus to drain more easily. Zugsalbe should therefore be used primarily to treat mild inflammation (such as pimples under the skin and ingrown hairs), but also for purulent abscesses – with the latter, however, you must pay attention to a few important points. What these are and how to use the ointment correctly is summarized in more detail below.

Regardless of which ointment you choose – the effect is always the same. A widespread classic is Ichtholan: It softens the skin and makes it permeable so that the pus can drain off. At the same time, it has an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect on the infection. In other words, not only the focus of inflammation is combated by the treatment, but also the spread of the germs contained therein. In addition, the pulling ointment also has a pain-relieving function and reduces itching. And that’s not all: Ichtholan stimulates blood circulation to speed up the healing process. The same applies to other manufacturers such as Winthrop or Infectopharm, who use the same active ingredient (ammonium bituminosulfonate) in their ointment. They all offer their products in two different strengths: 20 percent and 50 percent.




20 percent or 50 percent


20 percent or 50 percent


20 percent or 50 percent

Depending on how far advanced the inflammation is and how deep it is under the skin, a lighter or stronger dosage of the ointment is recommended.

Mild inflammations such as underground pimples, ingrown hairs and also razor bumps can be treated with a pulling ointment – ​​or smaller injuries under the skin such as splinters. In the initial phase, a 20 percent ointment is sufficient, but if the infection is more severe, it is better to use a higher concentration of active ingredient. The best way to use it is as follows:

Apply the black ointment thinly and selectively to the inflamed area with a cotton swab.

Put a large band-aid over the wound to keep the ointment from contaminating your clothes or bedding.

Wash your hands after and before each treatment so that you do not transfer any new germs to the wound.

Change the bandage daily and wash off the remnants of the traction ointment with warm water before using new ones.

Repeat this process several times as it can take three to five days for the pus to surface.

Important: The Zugsalbe should never come into contact with your mucous membranes or your eyes.

In principle, Zugsalbe is also suitable for the treatment of abscesses. This is a collection of pus under the skin around which a capsule-like membrane forms to protect the body from infection. Abscesses of pus can form anywhere: under the armpits, in the genital area or on the buttocks. Therefore, they are very uncomfortable, painful – and dangerous if left untreated and result in blood poisoning. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a doctor without fail if:

If, on the other hand, the abscess is still in the early stages, you can treat it with a pulling ointment as described above so that the pus can drain faster.

Normally, the use of Zugsalbe is completely harmless – but it can happen that some people have an allergic reaction to it: If your skin starts to burn or itch after the treatment, you should wash the ointment off immediately with warm water. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is not recommended to use it. If in doubt, you can also ask your doctor for advice beforehand. Otherwise no side effects of Zugsalben are known.

Note: This article contains general information and cannot replace a doctor’s visit.

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