Resorcinol and sulfur (Topical)
Generic name: resorcinol and sulfur [ re-SOR-si-nol, SUL-fur ]
Drug class: Topical acne agents
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 30, 2023.
Uses for resorcinol and sulfur
Resorcinol and sulfur combination is used to treat acne and similar skin conditions.
This medicine is available without a prescription.
Before using resorcinol and sulfur
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Resorcinol may be absorbed through the skin and should not be used on large areas of the bodies of infants and children. In addition, resorcinol should not be used on wounds, since doing so may cause a blood disease called methemoglobinemia.
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of resorcinol and sulfur in the elderly with use in other age groups.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Proper use of resorcinol and sulfur
Use this medicine only as directed. Do not use more of it and do not use it more often than recommended on the label, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. To do so may increase the chance of absorption through the skin and the chance of resorcinol poisoning.
Before using this medicine, wash the affected areas thoroughly and gently pat dry. Then apply a small amount to the affected areas and spread on gently, but do not rub in.
Immediately after using this medicine, wash your hands to remove any medicine that may be on them.
Keep this medicine away from the eyes. If you should accidentally get some in your eyes, flush them thoroughly with water.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For acne and similar skin conditions:
- For cake dosage form:
- Adults and children—Use two or three times a day.
- For cream dosage form:
- Adults and children—Use one to three times a day.
- For gel and stick dosage forms:
- Adults and children—Use as needed.
- For lotion dosage form:
- Adults and children—Use two times a day.
- For cake dosage form:
If you miss a dose of this medicine, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Precautions while using resorcinol and sulfur
When using resorcinol and sulfur combination, do not use any of the following preparations on the same affected area as this medicine, unless otherwise directed by your doctor:
- Abrasive soaps or cleansers
- Alcohol-containing preparations
- Any other topical acne preparation or preparation containing a peeling agent (for example, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or tretinoin [vitamin A acid])
- Cosmetics or soaps that dry the skin
- Medicated cosmetics
- Other topical medicine for the skin
To use any of the above preparations on the same affected area as this medicine may cause severe irritation of the skin.
Do not use any topical mercury-containing preparation, such as ammoniated mercury ointment, on the same affected area as this medicine . To do so may cause a foul odor, may be irritating to the skin, and may stain the skin black. If you have any questions about this, check with your health care professional.
This medicine (depending on the product you are using) may darken light-colored hair. If you have any questions about this, check with your health care professional.
Side Effects of resorcinol and sulfur
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Less common or rare
- Skin irritation not present before use of this medicine
Symptoms of resorcinol poisoning
- Diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, or vomiting
- headache (severe or continuing)
- nervousness or restlessness
- slow heartbeat, shortness of breath, or troubled breathing
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Redness and peeling of skin (may occur after a few days)
- Unusual dryness of skin
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More about resorcinol / sulfur topical
- Check interactions
- Compare alternatives
- Reviews (2)
- Side effects
- Dosage information
- During pregnancy
- Drug class: topical acne agents
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.