Topical Antibiotic / Topical Keratolytic
150 Reviews
Topical Antibiotic / Topical Keratolytic
Based on All Available Studies
Strength of Evidence
Topical Antibiotic / Topical Keratolytic
Side Effects
Topical Antibiotic / Topical Keratolytic’s Real World Take
Not often used because it smells bad, colors the skin when applied, and can (rarely) lead to severe side effects. Limited evidence shows that it does significantly clear mild-to-moderate acne, but we need more research to know for sure how well it works.
Topical Antibiotic / Topical Keratolytic
How to Get It
Have a dermatologist? Make an appointment to get this medication. Don't have a dermatologist? See The American Academy of Dermatology Physician Database to find one.
Read All About Sodium Sulfacetamide / Sulfur
Compare To Other Treatments

Used Sodium Sulfacetamide / Sulfur? Rate It:

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October 29, 2017
My face has never been this soft since pre-puberty
I've been struggling with mild acne since puberty, and it's been only getting worse the older I get and now it's pretty moderate along with new hormonal cystic acne. I've tried harsh things like Acanya and clindamycin, only to find out I am very sensitive to those. Having an unknown facial reaction last February also led my skin to being ultra sensitive today. So, my physician finally gave me samples for sodium sulfacetamide and ones with sulfur since she was worried of my sensitivity. The samples with just 10% sulfa alone weren't helpful at all as I got a lot of side effects like burning, warmth, redness, etc. I moved onto Avar LS which was 10% sulfa and 2% sulfur, and my goodness was there a huge difference with only 6 uses from that tiny tube! It was very gentle, and I had no side effects. The sandpaper texture on my face was melting away, I was getting less oily, and my face was overall becoming soft and fewer pimples were showing up. I moved onto higher concentrations of sulfur (up to 4.5%), but that was overkill and I got very irritated and had to rest my skin while I waited for the prescription. It wasn't covered by my insurance so I had to use their savings plan which brings down the cost to $40 a bottle for 12 refills. It's well worth the cost and would last a very long time since you only need a very small amount for it to work. As I waited for the full bottle of Avar LS, I've noticed that from only those 6 small uses my face still was less oily and the scaly areas around my nose and eyebrows didn't come back as fast as it used to (I'm assuming that's sebhorreic dermatitis, but I'll ask the next time I visit). When the full bottle arrived, there was added fragrance but I had to laugh since it did not help at all once the sulfur settled into my skin, I still smelled it in full and just had to get used to it. It's only been a week since I've used the Avar LS and I'm already so excited to share my experience. My skin is just really soft now and it's slowly brightening up. I tried using my oil cleanser to exfoliate before Avar LS one time, and it did not pick up much remnants of peeling skin or hard sebaceous filaments. That's extremely good news--Avar is really doing its work gently exfoliating chemically instead of me attempting to roughhouse with my hands trying to scrub out everything. Some leftover pimples and cystic acne do come up, but then they are quickly dried out by the sulfur. My problematic scaly, dry, irritated nose that I've been struggling with for several years no longer bothers me. I still have no side effects from this cleanser. My face has never felt so clean before. It no longer itches, except for the dry pimples. While my face still looks bad, I can definitely feel that this is working in my favor even if it's slow. My twice a day routine consists of just washing my face with Cetaphil cleanser, and then following up with a dime sized amount of Avar LS and lather it all around my face and neck for 10 seconds. I rinse very well and then pat dry. I follow up with Elidel cream if needed because I have lingering eczema sometimes. Lastly, I just put on some Cetaphil lotion. Please give this a try, and ask for a lot of different samples. It's very good and sulfur has been used for centuries especially in hot springs for skin problems.
November 30, 2017
Update 11/30/17 (1 month later) - This product is still fabulous! I switched to CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser to aid with repairing my skin barrier and it works in great synergy with Avar LS. My face is even more smooth with it. This is a slow process, but I can definitely feel the difference each day. I still also use Elidel occasionally to aid in eczema flare ups. I still get cystic acne flare ups but I can't help that because of hormones, I'm going to try birth control (if I can get it) in combination with it soon.
December 27, 2018

Update 12/27/18 (over a year later) - I switched to a generic a few months ago and it works way better with the thicker consistency and lack of sulfur smell. I am able to use this twice a day morning and night. My face is usually baby smooth now and I rarely get any breakouts. I only have eczema (I no longer have to use Elidel) that comes and goes and continued use does not irritate it at all, but rather helps by sloughing off the dead skin faster. My complexion is also getting lighter and slowly matching the rest of my body.

Still love this stuff so much.

I still use CeraVe products with this, no problems at all. Rather it's very gentle and the hyaluronic acid helps, I never have dry skin anymore since the sulfur can be very drying.

I still use the leftover Avar each night on my back in the shower, and it does smooth it out a good deal however I still get bumps there. Doesn't work that well on the back, but I don't want to waste it. It lasts a long time, this is still the original bottle I got last year.

January 5, 2016
Okay, But Probably Not Great for Sensitive Skin
My dermatologist gave me this cleanser to help with my moderate acne; however, it was a bit too harsh for my skin and I couldn't use it for longer than a couple weeks at a time (using it only every night). Just irritated my skin and left it dry and flaky. Also didn't do a spectacular job of clearing blemishes, so not really worth it for me.
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3 user(s) found this helpful

August 11, 2015
Cloths are best for acne spots
Where are the cleaning cloths? I started laser treatments several years ago but stopped because they were expensive. I had dozens of towels left over. It was then I realized it was the Plexion towels, not the laser treatments, that was clearing the spots on my face. I searched high and low for them and my doctors had never heard of them. Then internet quality increased and I discovered they were discontinued. I sure hope they brought back the cleansing cloths. The medication plus the abrasiveness of the cloths help to start fading my spots.
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3 user(s) found this helpful

June 12, 2015
Plexion is back.
For those that remember it was discontinued a couple of years ago. I've just got my prescription from my doctor. The pharmacy had to order it. 20 bucks co-pay. They have a new website Plexion-info.
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7 user(s) found this helpful

May 6, 2015
Try OTC Medicated Sulfur Soap 10% by Joesoef Skin Care Dermatologists Dispensed
Plexion no longer accepted by insurance, my dermatologists recommended trying $9 Sulfur Soap 10% by Joesoef Skin Care this soap is anti bacterial, anti fungal and antiseptic and it works. its available online [link removed] for best results use warm water and work the soap into a rich foamy lather, allow 60 seconds before rinse. This soap is 100% effective for Acne, All Dermatitis, Rosacea, fungus, Bacteria, Tinea Versicolor and more. a must try $9 alternative....So glad i found this soap
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10 user(s) found this helpful

September 26, 2014
Product used: Sumaxin (Wash)
Turned things around for me.
Back when my acne was bad my dermatologist put me on Sumaxin and saw results in the first week. Reduced redness and fewer breakouts. It worked great. I got off the wash and was using other washes. I noticed recently an increase in outbreaks again and got a new RX for Sumaxin.
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1 user(s) found this helpful

June 29, 2013
Miracle cleanser!


Works amazingly
Easy to use and no side effects
Missing a dose on occasion has no negative effects


You become immune to it after 5-10 years
Expensive but worth every penny

My acne began in high school and over the counter medications didn't really work for me, so I suffered from moderate to severe acne, definitely affecting my self-esteem in those critical years. Finally, in college I was prescribed Plexion cleanser and it worked miracles for me. My skin became clear and beautiful pretty quickly and one cleanser would last me 6 months, so I didnt mind forking out the money for the prescription, even though I didnt have insurance. Unfortunately, 8-10 years later this cleanser stopped working, but for the time it worked, which was a very long time, it was amazing!
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2 user(s) found this helpful

June 10, 2013
Product used: Prascion (Cleanser)
The only thing that worked


Clear skin

I am disappointed that I was told they discontinued the prascion cleanser. My daughter and I have used it for a long time and it was the only thing that worked for us. We have been prescribed other cleansers since and they wont work. We really wish the manufacturer would bring it back.
December 16, 2012


Seems to work
Gets rid of breakouts
Not painful
Like a facial
Kit comes with a moisturizer


Leaves skin feeling dry
Makes my skin hot when I put it on
Takes 5-10 minutes for the whole process

I got this a couple weeks ago as a cleanser/wash. It seems to work very well. I haven't had any serious breakouts (or any new pimples at all) since I started, and the pimples that I do have are from me trying to pop them... You have to leave it on for five minutes before washing it off, so it does take a little time. You put it on before you go to sleep and when you wake up. I would definitely recommend this! (Oh, and I'm taking this with Epiduo.)
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10 user(s) found this helpful

December 10, 2012


Held acne at bay for awhile


Didn't clear face
Made skin extremely dry and flaky
Smells bad
Left behind a white, filmy residue

My derm gave me this to use for the month before I could get on accutane. It helped stop new lesions from forming, but did not clear my acne. It made my face really, really flaky, dry, and tight. It was only a short term med til I could get on the accutane, but I didn't like it much. I would recommend for short term use to those trying to hold acne at bay for similar reasons, but for severe acne long term use wouldn't help anything much. Also, smelt strongly of sulfur (a main ingredient) and left a white, chalky film on my face where I had applied it.

Finding a Doctor

The right dermatologist can make a big difference to your patient experience and the success of your acne treatment plan. Here are the steps to find a dermatologist who is a good fit:

  1. Use the search feature on the American Academy of Dermatology website to look for board-certified dermatologists in your area, and filter the search results for doctors with a special interest in treating acne.
  2. Read online patient reviews of any dermatologists you are considering and ask people you know whether they have any experience with these dermatologists.
  3. Do your research and go to your first appointment with questions prepared.
  4. Listen to what your gut feeling tells you once you see a dermatologist in person. If you are not completely comfortable, try a different dermatologist.

Finding a Doctor

Only a select few plastic surgeons specialize in acne scar revision surgery. Be certain to find a provider who specializes in acne scar repair and who is passionate and experienced in this area.

Be sure to:

  • Look at before and after photos, the more the better, especially patients with similar scarring to your own.
  • Be realistic about results. Look for improvement, not a cure.

Questions to ask a potential scar revision specialist:

  • Are you board certified? Be certain that they are board certified.
  • How long have you been performing these procedures? Normally, the more experience the better, however, some younger surgeons may be more on top of the latest procedures.
  • Can I speak to some of your other patients? Ask for references for several patients who had similar scarring and speak to them about the process and their satisfaction with results.

Red flags:

  • Their story changes: As you discuss different treatment options, if they tend to change their mind easily, or agree with whatever you say, consider this a red flag. A confident, experienced surgeon will possess strong, unwavering opinions.
  • Your gut tells you "no": Trust your gut. If you just don't feel that the doctor is the right fit, trust that and move on. On the other hand, if you feel they are the perfect specialist for you, trust that feeling.