Sulphur ointment is available over the counter under many brand names, and the product is useful for treating a few kinds of skin disorders, according to the Mayo Clinic. Sulphur has keratolytic properties, meaning it softens and loosens dead skin cells from the skin surface. The substance also has mild antifungal and antibacterial qualities.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends applying a 6 percent strength sulphur ointment for treating scabies, according to an article published in the July-August 2004 issue of "Journal of Drugs and Dermatology." Scabies involves infection by mites, and it causes very itchy skin. Adults and children both typically catch scabies from one another through close contact, and the condition has no relation to personal hygiene. If you have scabies, Drugs.com advises applying sulphur ointment to your entire body at bedtime for three nights straight, after washing your entire body with soap and water and drying thoroughly. Leave the medicine on for 24 hours each time before washing off.
Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment
Sulphur ointment also is useful for treating seborrheic dermatitis. This common skin disorder primarily affects the scalp, resulting in itchy, scaly, skin and dandruff. When babies have this condition, it is called cradle cap. Seborrheic dermatitis can also occur on any other oily areas of the body. Sulphur ointment decreases itching, flaking and dandruff associated with this condition, and can have an antifungal effect against Malassezia yeast, which may have a role in the disorder. Drugs.com advises applying sulphur ointment of 5 to 10 percent strength once or twice daily to affected areas only, after washing with soap and water and drying thoroughly.
People can use sulphur cream, lotion, soap or ointment to treat acne, according to the Mayo Clinic. Sulphur inhibits the growth of P. acnes, the anaerobic bacteria that causes acne when pores become clogged. Additionally, the keratolytic action of sulphur promotes the shedding of dead skin cells, which keeps pores clear. Sulphur also decreases oiliness, a beneficial quality for acne patients because oily skin makes it more difficult for dead skin cells to slough away.
Shelley Moore is a journalist and award-winning short-story writer. She specializes in writing about personal development, health, careers and personal finance. Moore has been published in "Family Circle" magazine and the "Milwaukee Sentinel" newspaper, along with numerous other national and regional magazines, daily and weekly newspapers and corporate publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology.