What is Sulfur Lotion?

Deborah Walker
Deborah Walker
Sulfur lotion contains sulfur.
Sulfur lotion contains sulfur.

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.

Sulfur lotion may be used topically to treat acne.
Sulfur lotion may be used topically to treat acne.

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.

Sulfur-based over the counter rosacea treatment options are very popular.
Sulfur-based over the counter rosacea treatment options are very popular.

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.

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Discussion Comments


I'm using sulfur lotion on my arm for a yeast infection and it's working. I knew that sulfur lotion has anti-fungal properties but I honestly did not think that it would work so quickly. I'm thinking of getting a sulfur soap as well because I want this infection gone as soon as possible.

The only downside of the lotion I've noticed is that it's drying. It might be an issue for people who already have dry, sensitive skin.


@fify-- Sulfur does normally have a strong scent but lotions and creams contain other ingredients to make the scent less strong. Of course, each product is a little different and some may be more scented than others.

I use sulfur lotion as an acne treatment, it really works. The first sulfur lotion I tried smelled too strong. The problem was not just the sulfur scent, but also fragrance that they added to the lotion to mask the sulfur scent. It didn't work and made the lotion smell even stronger. The sullfur lotion I use now does have a scent, but it's very mild. It does not bother me and I don't smell it at all a few hours after application.

Since sulfur lotion needs to stay on the skin for a day to be effective, you need to find one that you can tolerate. I highly recommend reading reviews first. If reviews say that the product is very smelly, then look at something else. Good luck!


I heard that sulfur lotion has a very strong, bothersome scent. Is this true?

My doctor recommended sulfur lotion as a natural acne treatment product and I want to try it but I'm worried that the scent will bother me. Does anyone here use sulfur cream or lotion?

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    • Sulfur lotion contains sulfur.
      By: wlad074
      Sulfur lotion contains sulfur.
    • Sulfur lotion may be used topically to treat acne.
      By: Ocskay Bence
      Sulfur lotion may be used topically to treat acne.
    • Sulfur-based over the counter rosacea treatment options are very popular.
      By: robert mobley
      Sulfur-based over the counter rosacea treatment options are very popular.