FAQ - Sulfur & Salicylic Acid Liquid Soap

What does sulfur & salicylic acid (combination) treat?

Seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff and psoriasis. We are prohibited from marketing our combination sulfur & salicylic acid liquid soap for any other uses. Folks use sulfur & salicylic acid soap for a variety of other applications. Any off-label-drug-use (OLDU) should be managed by a medical professional.

Salicylic Acid in concentrations from 1.8% to 2%, when formulated to be applied and then washed off after brief exposure, is used to treat dandruff. Sulfur in concentrations from 1.8% to 3% is used to treat dandruff. Salicylic acid in concentrations from 1.8% to 3% is used to treat seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis. A combination of sulfur and salicylic acid can be used to treat dandruff provided that each concentration is within the established concentrations. Sulfur in concentrations from 3% to 10% is used to treat acne. Salicylic acid in concentrations from 0.5% to 2% is used to treat acne. Sulfur cannot be combined with saliicylic acid in a drug to treat acne.

Our 5% sulfur & 2% salicylic acid liquid soap is an OTC drug used to treat dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis. 

What’s the difference between the liquid and bar versions of the sulfur & salicylic acid soap?

Liquid soap is convenient to use. The difference between liquid and bar soap is mostly chemistry. All soap is made by combining oils and an alkali. Bar soap is made with sodium hydroxide (lye). Liquid soap is made with potassium hydroxide (another type of lye, also known as potash). Both alkali agents chemically transform during the soap-making process.

Both bar soaps and liquid soaps are equally effective. Our liquid Sulfur & Salicylic Acid soap contains a bit more glycerin - a super hydrator that aids with skin moisturizing and smoothing. It also contains fine volcanic pumice which helps to sweep away dead skin cells. For now, we’re only making liquid in a 5% Sulfur and 2% Salicylic Acid combination. We don’t make a 10%/3%.

The choice to use the liquid vs bar is mostly a personal preference and might reflect what was available in the supermarket when you were an adolescent. It’s an age thingy. Women and younger adults believe that using liquid soap is more hygienic, easier and less messy. Liquid soaps are unpopular with those 65 and older. That said, natural soaps like DermaHarmony blur the age bias because younger adults are interested in natural and eco-friendly bar soaps.

Does the liquid sulfur and salicylic acid soap contain fragrance or essential oils?


Can this liquid soap be used as shampoo?

Yes you can. But washing your hair with soap will not feel the same as washing your hair with shampoo. Natural soap will clean your hair but it will leave your hair feeling slightly dry and waxy, especially if you have hard water. An acid rinse will take away the waxy feeling.  

The acid rinse: add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar – the type in your kitchen) to a liter of water and rinsing your hair thoroughly after washing with soap. Adjust the ratio of vinegar to water if it’s not working for you.  Don’t go beyond 4 tablespoons per liter of water.

If you don't like the concept of using an acid rinse then we make a 5% Sulfur & 2% Salicylic Acid shampoo bar.  This is a non-soap bar that uses plant-based surfactant cleansing ingredients.  It contains conditioners, detanglers, and vitamins to give your hair a softer feel.  The surfactants don’t react with hard water like soaps.

Do you make larger bottles?

Not yet.  This product line was launched in 2020.  We’ll monitor performance over time and then decide if market conditions warrant manufacturing 10 fl oz and half-gallon bottles.  It is highly likely that we will begin to make larger sized bottles as early 2023.  If you use a lot of this product, give us a call.  We have 24 and 48 packs available upon request.