Sulfur lotion is a topical medication made of 10% sodium sulfacetamide and 5% sulfur. Doctors sometimes prescribe sulfur lotion to patients with serious skin conditions. The combination of antibacterial and drying agents can rapidly clear up skin conditions and may prompt much faster healing than any other type of skin cream. Sulfur lotion is available with a prescription. Side effects are rare, but do occur in some people who use this product. People with sulfa or sulfur allergies, and some other conditions, should not use this lotion.
The anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory agent sodium sulfacetamide, the primary ingredient in sulfur lotion, kills germs on the surface of the skin. The drying agent, sulfur, helps the skin shed its top layer more quickly so new, healed skin can take its place. Open sores ought to be checked by a doctor prior to applying the lotion.
Sulfur lotion should only be used on clean skin. It is usually applied in a thin layer 1-3 times each day. One should take precautions to avoid applying too much lotion at one time or over too large an area. The lotion should also be kept away from eyes, nose, or mouth. If this happens, the area must be rinsed with clean water immediately.
Even though this medication is meant to heal the skin without causing irritation, sometimes redness, itching, or swelling may occur. The treated skin can develop a yellow discoloration if too much lotion is applied. Those using sulfur lotion may want to stay out of the sun or refrain from using sunlamps or tanning booths because its use increases sunlight sensitivity. A sunscreen with a rating of 15 or higher is recommended when outside.
Some serious side effects may develop while using this lotion. Symptoms for which a doctor needs to be called include severe blistering, patchy skin color, or butterfly rash over the nose and cheeks, joint pain, swelling, or stiffness. Other symptoms indicating a serious side effect are unexpected or unusual weakness, fever, mouth sores, easy bruising, and pale skin. Loss of appetite, nausea, stomach pain, dark urine, clay-colored stools, and jaundice are other symptoms to watch for.
Allergic reactions are generally rare. If itching or swelling of the face, tongue, or throat occurs, stop using the lotion immediately and contact a doctor. Other symptoms of an allergic reaction may include a rash or hives.
It has not been determined if sulfur lotion is safe for children under 12 years old. Nursing women may want to exercise caution if they are using this medication since traces of the drug may be passed through breast milk to the baby. In addition, sulfur lotion should be avoided by those with kidney disease or who are hypersensitive to the product's ingredients.