This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics Inorganic Substances", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia medica and therapeutics.
A solution of subacetate of lead is still, perhaps, the most frequently used of all remedies in the external inflammatory conditions for which it was introduced by Goulard, of Montpelier, more than 100 years ago.
In erysipelas it proves cooling and astringent, and a good formula for its use is that given by Christison, Murchison, and others (Medical Times, i., 1867, p. 523), viz., 4 gr. each of lead acetate and of powdered opium in an ounce of warm water. The meconate of lead is formed, and precipitates, but gives an effective therapeutical result; a more elegant form combines the lead salt with acetic acid and acetate of morphia. Dr. Lawson speaks well of a solution of acetate, 10 to 20 gr. in 1/2 oz. each of plain water and lime-water, for all kinds of burns, wounds, and ulcers (Lancet, ii., 1875). Mr. Freer, from much practical experience, recommends the carbonate of lead with linseed oil (white paint) in preference to the acetate, or indeed to any other application; it has the advantage over nitrate of silver of being painless, and it often relieves very quickly (Lancet, i., 1859). It is good not only in erysipelas, but in burns, carbuncles, eczemas, etc., since it excludes air and exerts a sedative effect- it may be applied with a feather, and a fresh coat put on every two hours or so, and left to peel off in a few days. A more elegant mode of using the carbonate is with glycerin, 1 dr. to 4 gr. of the powder, and 1 oz. of cerate; this is useful for erythema.