Topical Keratolytic
Compare To Other Treatments

Sulfur is available as an over-the-counter topical treatment. It is available in lotion, liquid, cream, soap, and ointment form. 

  • Available forms:

    • Topical treatment:

      • Lotion
      • Liquid / Wash
      • Cream / Mask
      • Soap
      • Ointment
    • Brand names:

      • Clearogen®
      • Sulfur Wash Rodan and Fields®
      • AcneFree®
      • Joesoef®
      • AriSulfur®
      • Dermaklear®
      • DeLaCruz®

        (There are many other brand names available)
        Available in doses up to 10%

Dosing information:

The dose and frequency of use depends on the product, varying from as needed to 3 times per day.

  • 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:

Sulfur is a topical treatment and is available as a lotion, liquid, cream, soap, and ointment.

Sulfur is usually applied once to twice a day depending on the product and the tolerance of the product. 

Apply sulfur on clean skin.

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

Do not get 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. 

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

Do not apply sulfur on large areas of the skin. 

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

  • Lotion: 
    • Before applying sulfur lotion, wash the acne-affected skin with water and a mild cleanser. Pat the skin dry with a soft towel. 
    • Apply a thin film of sulfur to acne-affected skin, 1 time a day.
  • Liquid:
    • Before applying sulfur liquid, wet the skin with lukewarm water. 
    • Gently apply an quarter-sized amount (about 2 ml) to the acne-affected skin, once a day and increase to twice a day when tolerated.
  • Cream / Mask:
    • Before applying sulfur cream mask, wet the skin with water. 
    • Apply the mask to the acne-affected skin, avoiding the eye and lip area.
    • Gently massage until the mask turns light blue to have maximum absorption. 
    • Leave the mask on the skin for 10 minutes until it is dry. 
    • Rinse the treated area with water and pat dry.
    • Apply the cream / mask up to 2 to 3 times a week.
  • Soap:
    • Make a lather with soap and warm water and apply this to the acne-affected area.
    • Leave the lather on the skin for 3-5 minutes.
    • Rinse the treated area and pat dry.
    • Use the soap 1 to 3 times a day.
    • Reduce frequency to once a day or every other day when dryness or peeling gets bothersome.
  • Ointment:
    • Before applying sulfur, wash the acne-affected skin with water and a mild cleanser. Pat the skin dry with a soft towel.
    • Apply a thin layer of ointment to acne-affected skin.
    • Start using the ointment once a day and gradually increase to 2 or 3 times a day as prescribed. 
    • Reduce frequency to once a day or every other day when dryness or peeling gets bothersome.

Be aware of: 

  • Before using sulfur, let your physician or pharmacist know if you are allergic to sulfur, sulfonamides, or to any of the other ingredients in the lotion, liquid, cream, soap, or ointment.
  • Before using 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 an other topical acne treatment, before you start using sulfur. The risk of skin irritation or dryness increases if you use an other topical treatment acne treatment at the same time as sulfur.
  • If you are using sulfur and are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, talk to your physician about using sulfur during pregnancy.
  • If you are using sulfur and are breastfeeding, talk to your physician about using sulfur during this period.
  • You can continue your regular diet unless your physician advises otherwise.
  • Do not use sulfur for a skin condition that it was not prescribed 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 sulfur. Also inform your physician or pharmacist of the skin products you use including soaps, cleansers, moisturizers, and cosmetics. 

Do not swallow

If 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

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 your prescribed dosing schedule. Do not increase the quantity or frequency of application to make up for the missed dose.


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 (

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


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: (

  1. (2018). Sulfur (topical). [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 June. 2018].