Sulfur Ointment

Uses And Origins Of Sulfur Ointment

Sulfur ointment is an easily obtainable medication used to treat a number of conditions, especially skin conditions. It is one of the primary medications used in the treatment of acne and in the treatment of scabies.

As for sulfur itself, it is one of the most abundant elements found in the earth and is the 10th most abundant element in the universe. Sulfur has an atomic number of 16, and is located in the periodic table of the elements between phosphorus and chlorine. Sulfur is a mineral, but it is not a metal.

Like sulfur itself, sulfur ointment may have somewhat of an odor, and must be handled with care as it stains materials quite easily. The characteristic smell of sulfur is not actually that of the element itself, which has little if any odor, but occurs when sulfur comes into contact with moisture in the air, producing hydrogen sulfide (H2S).  Hydrogen sulfide has that wonderful rotten egg odor. Fortunately most sulfur ointments, which usually have a concentration of sulfur between 5% and 10%, have compounds which inhibit the production of hydrogen sulfide partially, if not always totally. Sulfur-based medications still have a deserved reputation for not always smelling terribly good.

Sulfur Is Required For Healthy Skin - The nutritional value of sulfur undoubtedly has something to do with the medicinal value and uses of sulfur ointment. Our body requires sulfur, and fortunately we get all we need and more in a normal diet, as most foods we eat, including most leafy vegetables as well as meat, eggs, and fish contain sulfur. The sulfur we ingest goes to work in building up skin, hair, and nails, so it's not a surprise that a sulfur ointment or a sulfur soap can be effective against skin disorders, such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis. Sulfur ointment is effective for treating lice. It is also effective in treating the symptoms of scabies. Whether sulfur actually kills adult scabies mites is somewhat of an open question. Some medical practitioners say it does and others say it doesn't. If the latter is true, there are other preparations that will do the job, but sulfur ointment still is effective in treating the symptoms of scabies. Sulfur ointment is for the most part a very safe medication to use, and is often used to treat infant's skin problems, especially diaper rash and lice infestations.

Sulfur Soap An Alternative - About the only precaution that one may need to take when using a sulfur ointment, besides the fact that it can stain clothing or the bedding, is that regular use may cause the skin to dry excessively, which could lead to other problems than the one being treated. One alternative would be to use sulfur soap, which would appear to be the preferred way to go if scalp issues such as dandruff are being treated. Staining is not so much of an issue, and sulfur soap is usually concentrated enough to deal effectively with dandruff. Sometimes these soaps consist of a combination of sulfur and salicylic acid. When that is the case, there is a possibility of interaction with other medications, so if other medications are being used at the time it's always best to consult with your physician. Side effects of from these soaps are not terribly common, but they can occur, especially under certain medical conditions. While sulfur is an element that out body needs, excessive amounts of it can be toxic, and when combined with salicylic acid, the risk of side effects can increase considerably. In summary, sulfur ointment is an inexpensive, safe, and extremely useful product, when used appropriately.