Sulphur ointment is an over-the-counter topical medicine used in the treatment of certain skin disorders. The generic name is sulphur ointment (precipitated sulphur) 5% to 10 %, and the medicine is sold under several brand names. According to the University of Michigan Health System website, sulphur ointment is safe; however, it may dry the skin.
Sulphur ointment treats acne on adults and children. Acne is a common skin disorder that causes pimples. Pimples form because hair follicles under the skin clog up. Use the medicine as needed, unless your doctor suggests otherwise. According to the Mayo Clinic, recommended dosages vary depending on the treatment needed for each patient.
Sulphur ointment also treats seborrhoeic dermatitis. Seborrhoeic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition causing flaky scales to form on oily areas, most often inside and around the ear, on the scalp, eyebrows and eyelids. Seborrhoeic dermatitis can also occur on many other parts of the body. This condition is known as cradle cap on an infant. Treatment consists of washing the affected area with soap and water, drying throroughly, then applying enough sulphur ointment to cover the affected area and rubbing in gently.
Scabies is another skin condition treated by sulphur ointment. Scabies, caused by the microscopic mite known as Sarcoptes scabiei, results in an itchy skin condition. According to the MedlinePlus website, scabies is common all over the world and spreads quickly in crowded conditions. Effective treatment of scabies requires washing your entire body with soap and water before applying the sulphur ointment. After leaving the medicine on for 24 hours, it is important to wash your entire body again before reapplying the ointment.
According to MedlinePlus, if you plan to use sulphur ointment to treat lice, you should first check with your doctor about proper usage. While the ointment is often used to treat acne, seborrheic dermatitis and scabies, your doctor may also prescribe sulphur ointment to treat other skin conditions.
As with any drug, weigh the risks against the benefits. You should take certain other factors into consideration before using sulphur ointment. If you have allergies to any medication, consult your health care professional before using. No specific information is available showing how a sulphur drug will work on older people, or children, compared to other age groups. Additionally, no adequate studies have been conducted to determine infant risk during breastfeeding, according to Drugs.com.