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Sulfur Ointment (Precipitated Sulfur) 5% to 10%


Generic NameBrand Name
Sulfur ointment (precipitated sulfur) 5% to 10%

Sulfur is used for several conditions and comes in ointment, cream, lotion, and soap. Sulfur in ointment is the formulation used for scabies and seborrheic dermatitis.

How It Works

Sulfur may kill adult scabies mites.

The medicine will come with instructions. And your doctor will also give you a treatment schedule. These instructions for using scabies medicines are a general guide for using scabies creams or ointments.

If sulfur is recommended for treating lice, talk to your doctor about how to use it.

Why It Is Used

Sulfur is used primarily to treat scabies in infants younger than 2 months, pregnant women, and breast-feeding mothers.1 In general, it is used only when permethrin or other medicine cannot be used.

Sulfur is sometimes used to treat lice on very small infants, pregnant women, and nursing women, because it may be safer to use than other medicines.

How Well It Works

Precipitated sulfur is considered a safe treatment for scabies.1 There is not clear evidence from studies showing how well it works. But it sometimes cures scabies, especially Norwegian scabies.

Side Effects

Precipitated sulfur is thought to be very safe. It may dry the skin.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Precipitated sulfur does not cost much. But is very messy, stains clothing and bedding, and has a bad odor.

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  1. Stone SP, et al. (2008). Scabies, other mites, and pediculosis. In K Wolff et al., eds., Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 7th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2029–2037. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerAlexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology
Last RevisedMarch 14, 2011

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