Resorcinol / Sulfur

Topical Keratolytic / Topical Keratolytic

Resorcinol / Sulfur is available as over-the-counter topical treatment. It is available in cream, gel, lotion, and mask forms. 

  • Available forms:

    • Topical treatment: 

      • Cream
      • Gel
      • Lotion
      • Mask
    • Brand names:

      • Jon Ares®
      • Acnomel®
      • Clearasil® 
      • Utiliderm®
      • Glytone®
      • Exposed skin care®
      • Rezamid®

        (There are other brand names available)
  • Available in these doses: (Resorcinol / Sulfur)

    • Cream: 2% Resorcinol / 6% Sulfur and 2% Resorcinol / 8% Sulfur
    • Gel: 2% Resorcinol / 4% Sulfur
    • Lotion: 2% Resorcinol / 8% Sulfur
    • Mask: 2% Resorcinol / 3% Sulfur

Dosing information:

The dose and frequency of use depends on the product, varying from as 1 to 2 times a week (mask) to 1 to 3 times per day (cream, gel, lotion).

  • Who is it for? 

    • Gender:
      • Males and females
    • Severity of acne:
      • Mild-to-moderate acne
    • Age:
      • Children of 12 years and older, adolescents, and adults 

How to use it:

Resorcinol / Sulfur is a topical treatment and is available as a cream, gel, lotion, and mask.

Resorcinol / Sulfur is usually applied one to three times a day, except for the mask which is applied one to two times a week.  

The dosing for children of 12 years and older and adolescents is the same as the dosing for adults.

Do not get resorcinol / sulfur in your eyes, nose, or mouth. If it does get into your eyes, wash your eyes with a generous amount of water and seek medical attention if there is any irritation. 

Resorcinol / Sulfur should be used with caution on skin that is not intact. If any resorcinol / sulfur gets into a cut or scrape, rinse it off with water. 

Use resorcinol / sulfur exactly as indicated. Do not change the dose or the frequency of your medication. If you have any questions about the medication, ask your physician or pharmacist. 

  • Cream, gel, or lotion application: 
    • Before applying resorcinol / sulfur cream, gel, or lotion, wash the acne-affected skin with water and a mild cleanser. Pat the skin dry with a soft towel. 
    • The lotion must be shaken well before use. 
    • Start with the application of a thin layer of resorcinol / sulfur to the acne-affected skin once a day because excessive drying of the skin may occur. 
    • Increase gradually the application frequency to two or three times a day. 
    • Decrease the frequency to once a day or every other day if bothersome dryness of peeling of the skin occurs. 
  • Mask:
    • Before applying resorcinol / sulfur mask, wash the acne-affected skin with water and a mild cleanser. Pat the skin dry with a soft towel. 
    • Apply a thin layer of resorcinol / sulfur to the acne-affected skin and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. 
    • Afterwards, rinse the skin thoroughly with lukewarm water and pat dry.
    • Use the mask once or twice a week.
    • Decrease the frequency to once a week if bothersome dryness of peeling of the skin occurs. 

Be aware of: 

  • Before using resorcinol / sulfur, let your physician or pharmacist know if you are allergic to resorcinol, sulfur, sulfonamides, or to any of the other ingredients in the cream, gel, lotion, and mask.
  • Before using resorcinol / sulfur, inform your physician about the prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are using/taking. 
  • Inform your doctor if you are using any other topical acne treatment, before you start using sulfur. The risk of skin irritation or dryness increases if you use an other topical acne treatment at the same time as resorcinol / sulfur.
  • If severe skin irritation occurs, stop using resorcinol / sulfur and contact your physician. 
  • If you have very sensitive skin or are sensitive to benzoyl peroxide, do not use resorcinol / sulfur. 
  • Allow resorcinol / sulfur cream, gel, or lotion to dry completely before applying sunscreen. 
  • If you are using resorcinol / sulfur and are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, talk to your physician about using resorcinol / sulfur during pregnancy.
  • If you are using resorcinol / sulfur and are breastfeeding, talk to your physician about using resorcinol / sulfur during this period.
  • You can continue your regular diet unless your physician advises otherwise.
  • Do not use resorcinol / sulfur for a skin condition that it was not indicated for, without consulting your physician first. 
  • Do not share your medication with anyone else. 

Drug interactions: 

Inform your physician or pharmacist about all the prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan on taking before starting resorcinol / sulfur. Also inform your physician or pharmacist of the skin products you use including soaps, cleansers, moisturizers, and cosmetics. 

Do not swallow

If resorcinol / sulfur is swallowed, contact an emergency facility or call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 1 (800) 222-1222 (available 24/7).

If immediate assistance is necessary because the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, call 911.

Information can also be found online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help

What if I miss a dose?

As soon as you recall that you have missed a dose, apply the missed dose. However, skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose and continue with the indicated dosing schedule. Do not increase the quantity or frequency of application to make up for the missed dose. 

Storage:

Store your medication in the container that the pharmacist provided and keep it out of reach and out of sight of children. Many containers can be opened by children. Keep the container tightly closed. Always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location that is up and away from the sight of young children, to prevent poisoning (www.upandaway.org).

Store the medication at room temperature. Keep the medication away from excessive heat and moisture – do not store in the bathroom. Do not freeze resorcinol / sulfur.

Lotion: Resorcinol / Sulfur lotion is flammable so keep away from open fire or flame. 

Disposal:

Do not keep outdated medication and medication that you no longer use. Unneeded medications should be disposed of in a way that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. Do not flush the medication down the toilet. Contact your pharmacist to learn about the availability of a medicine take-back program in your neighborhood, or get in touch with your local garbage/recycling department to ensure safe disposal. If you do not have access to a take-back program, you can find more information on safe disposal of medication on the FDA website: (https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/EnsuringSafeUseofMedicine/SafeDisposalofMedicines/ucm186187.htm

References
  1. Dailymed.nlm.nih.gov. (2018). Sulfur and Resorcinol (topical). [online] Available at: https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/search.cfm?labeltype=all&query=RESORCINOL%2C+SULFUR&pagesize=20&page=1. [Accessed 2 July. 2018].
  2. Toxnet.nlm.nih.gov (2018). Sulfur. [online] Available at: https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search2/f?./temp/~mvwaJl:2. [Accessed 2 July. 2018].