Medically reviewed on May 30, 2018
What is resorcinol?
Resorcinol works by breaking down rough, scaly, or hardened skin. Resorcinol also disinfects the skin to help fight infection.
Resorcinol topical (for the skin) is used to treat pain and itching caused by minor cuts and scrapes, burns, insect bites, poison ivy, sunburn, or other skin irritations. Resorcinol topical is also used to treat acne, eczema, psoriasis, seborrhea, corns, calluses, warts, and other skin disorders.
Resorcinol may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use resorcinol if you are allergic to resorcinol.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use this medicine if you have other medical conditions, especially:
allergies to foods or dyes; or
if you are allergic to an animal.
It is not known whether resorcinol topical will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this medicine without a doctor's advice if you are pregnant.
It is not known whether resorcinol topical passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medicine without a doctor's advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.
Do not use this medicine on a child younger than 2 years old without medical advice.
How should I use resorcinol?
Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Do not take by mouth. Resorcinol topical is for use only on the skin. Do not use this medicine on open wounds or on sunburned, windburned, dry, chapped, or irritated skin.
Your dosage of this medicine will depend on the condition you are treating. Follow the label directions or your doctor's instructions about how much medicine to use and how often.
Apply only enough of the medicine to cover the area to be treated, and rub in gently.
Your body may absorb resorcinol through the skin if you use too much or if you apply it over large skin areas. Skin that is cut or irritated may also absorb more medicine.
Wash your hands after applying this medicine, unless you are treating a skin condition on your hands.
Resorcinol topical may darken light-colored hair.
Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using resorcinol topical.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Do not freeze. Keep the tube or bottle tightly closed when not in use.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since resorcinol topical is sometimes used when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are on a schedule, use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
An overdose of resorcinol topical is not expected to be dangerous. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.
What should I avoid while using resorcinol?
Do not apply resorcinol near your eyes. Rinse with water if the medicine gets in your eyes.
Avoid using skin products that can cause irritation, such as harsh soaps, shampoos, or skin cleansers, hair coloring or permanent chemicals, hair removers or waxes, or skin products with alcohol, spices, astringents, or lime.
Avoid using other skin medications on the areas you treat with resorcinol topical unless your doctor tells you to.
Resorcinol side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Although the risk of serious side effects is low when resorcinol is applied to the skin, side effects can occur if the medicine is absorbed into your bloodstream. Your body may absorb resorcinol through the skin if you use too much or if you apply it over large skin areas. Skin that is cut or irritated may also absorb more medicine.
Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:
headache, tired feeling, shortness of breath;
fast or irregular heartbeats;
seizure (convulsions); or
weak or shallow breathing.
Children can absorb larger amounts of this medicine through the skin and may be more likely to have side effects.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Resorcinol dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Dermatological Disorders:
Resorcinol topical 2% ointment:
Apply to affected area not more than 3 to 4 times daily.
Usual Pediatric Dose for Dermatological Disorders:
Resorcinol topical 2% ointment:
2 years or older: Apply to affected area not more than 3 to 4 times daily.
What other drugs will affect resorcinol?
It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on topically applied resorcinol. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.01.
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- Drug class: topical antipsoriatics