5 ways to cure scabies

with the Healthy Skin Program

Soothing Itch while killing scabies with Sulfur 

Sulfur: the original scabies treatment

Sulfur lotion (this page) 

    Recipes for sulfur lotion

    How much lotion will you need?

    Pre-mixed sulfur lotion or cream

    Use sulfur powder to make your own lotion

Eurax Lotion information 

Other products to ease itching 

Scabies itches like mad. There are two skin lotions/creams that kill scabies mites AND ease itching. They are sulfur lotion and  Eurax lotion. Sulfur is cheaper and more powerful than Eurax, but sulfur can dry your skin a little. Eurax does kill scabies mites, but it is not as powerful as sulfur. But Eurax is very soothing. It both softened my skin and eased the itch. I admit I love Eurax lotion — anytime I had an itch I could apply it and relax again. If you have to choose due to money, get sulfur (or permethrin or benzyl benzoate). But if you can afford it, get Eurax, too. More about Eurax on this page.

If you order them, sulfur can be on your doorstep tomorrow from Amazon, but the only reliable sources I have found for Eurax are England and Australia and take about 10 days to arrive.

Io, one of Jupiter’s moons.

Most of Io's surface is coated with sulfur and sulfur-dioxide frost.

There are no known scabies mites on Io.

Photo of Io; credit NASA / JPL / University of Arizona - Public Domain

Sulfur lotion

Sulfur lotion (or ointment) has been used for thousands of years to treat scabies. It relieves itching while it kills scabies.

I made mine by mixing concentrated Nu-Stock sulfur ointment with baby lotion. NuStock Ointment in 12-ounce tubes goes for around $12. They call it an "ointment" but it feels just like skin lotion (it is not greasy). It mixes really well with baby lotion ($3 for 27 oz at Wal-Mart!) to make whatever percent ointment you want.

If you are hyper-sensitive to sulfur smells, move along. Personally I like a mild smell of sulfur, like from fireworks. So for those who want a more "natural" sulfur treatment, this is what 87% of 1,200 Amazon reviewers say worked to rapidly cure their pets' parasite problems. If you read the reviews, you'll see I'm not the only one to use it to treat scabies on humans.

Nu-Stock is 73% sulfur, 25% mineral oil, 2% pine oil, so don't use it straight out of the tube. 10% is strong enough to cure scabies, and I found it very gentle and soothing.

If you prefer a pre-mixed sulfur lotion/ointment, look at the bottom of this page for a few great product suggestions.

Here is the MSDS (ingredient and safety sheet) for NuStock lotion

Recipes for sulfur lotion:

To make 5% lotion (for babies under 2 months old)

1 tablespoon Nu-Stock + 6 oz lotion = 6.5 oz of 5% sulfur lotion (note: 6 oz = 3/4 cup)

To make 8% lotion

1 oz Nu-Stock + 8 oz lotion = 9 oz of 8% sulfur lotion

To make 10% ointment (this is the normal concentration)

1 oz Nu-Stock + 6 oz lotion = 7 oz of 10% sulfur lotion

(note: 1 oz = 2 tablespoons, 6 oz = 3/4 cup)

One tube of Nu-Stock mixed with baby lotion makes over 2 quarts of 10% lotion! Of course you can mix up smaller amounts.

The latest research (here and here) on using sulfur lotion to treat scabies has used either 8% or 10% sulfur ointment successfully. Do not use the Nu-Stock straight out of the tube because 73% sulfur is too strong for humans (it's fine for cows and horses)! Dilute it using the recipes (above). 8% and 10% is the strength used in studies.

The sulfur ointment needs to be applied for three days in a row, either once a day for twelve hours each time (like overnight while you sleep) OR by applying it once a day and leaving it on for 24 hours. In both studies the subjects showered once a day.

Leaving it on 12 hours (each day for three days) resulted on a 90% cure rate. Leaving it on 24 hours (each day for 3 days) resulted in a 96% cure rate. In case you're wondering, that small difference means doing it for just 12 hours a day is fine. Those who applied it for the full 24 hours reported a bit more skin irritation and you do need to be good to yourself.

You may have to wait 4 days and then repeat this just to be to be sure to kill any eggs that hatch after the first treatment. You can always use sulfur lotion one week, and then 5% permethrin lotion the next week.

I have used sulfur lotion and aside from smelling a bit (I actually liked the mild sulfur aroma), it was actually soothing. It warmed my skin in bed at night and somehow that stopped the itching so I could sleep.

I also took ivermectin at the same time, so it's hard to say which did what, but the 10% sulfur lotion (plus 5% permethrin once a week) is what finally finished off my stubborn scabies.

A tube of NuStock contains 12 ounces — enough to make two and a half quarts (84 ounces) of 10% sulfur lotion (after you add the skin lotion). That's a LOT of lotion!

How much lotion will you need?

If you are just using it now and then, here and there, for itch relief, you can try a small amount. It takes about 3 ounces to cover your whole body (depending on how big you are).

If are using it as your primary scabies treatment, you apply it 3 nights in a row, that's about 8 or 9 ounces per week. For most folks you do this 2 weeks in a row, so that's 18 ounces. For a stubborn case you may apply it weekly for 5 weeks, that comes to 45 ounces or 1.4 quarts. Obviously for treating a family making your own becomes an attractive option.

Pre-mixed 10% sulfur lotion or cream

If you want to buy pre-mixed sulfur lotion/ointment, here are a few products to choose from (below). Mixing Nu-Stock sulfur lotion or sulfur powder with baby lotion is a lot cheaper, but obviously pre-mixed lotion is a lot tidier!

Nu-Stock is mixes easily with lotion.

Mixed with lotion, one tube can make over 2 quarts of 10% lotion

I was thinking about making my own line of 10% sulfur products until I saw Braunfels stuff. Braunfels makes their products the way I would, using the kind of high-quality ingredients I would choose…so now I don't have to!

Braunfels Labs makes specialty sulfur products…and they go all the way ensuring their products are natural and organic. The ingredients are more expensive than the synthetic stuff in most skin lotions and so it is pricier, but not ridiculous. You'll need about 8 or 9 ounces to do 3 applications over 3 days.

They use a blend of "premium" "American" sulfur with an organic cocktail of pure oils - Avocado Oil, Hemp Oil, Jojoba Oil with Shea Butter. They do not use any polyethylene glycol - PEG - zero! No petrolatum products,period. Also, no fragrance, no dyes, no artificial colorings, no perfume.

They get great reviews on Amazon. Here's an example: ""Braunfels Labs Sulfur Butter Cream 'n Ointment is my new favorite beauty product, especially in the dry winter weather. It is not greasy at all, absorbs quickly and my skin LOVES it." 5 stars

This "butter cream 'n' ointment" is made with shea butter mixed in other natural oils to make it creamier. Shea butter is a natural, organic oil that is relatively solid at room temperature, but it softens on your warm skin. You can always pre-soften it with a few seconds in the microwave (lid off) or by putting it in warm water for a few minutes (lid on).

Of course, lots of people are mighty picky about skin lotion. What one person loves another one hates, so if you mix up NuStock ointment or Braunfels powder or Greenway Biotech powder with your own favorite skin lotion you can virtually guarantee you'll like the feel of it.

Use sulfur powder to make your own lotion

10% Sulfur powder recipe

Mix 1 ounce by weight (or 3 tablespoons) of powder with 9 oz of skin lotion to make a total of 10 oz of 10% sulfur lotion.

NOTE: you can measure the lotion by weight or volume. Plus you can use whatever lotion or cream you like.

Just to make your life easier:

You can mix 1 oz by weight (or 3 tablespoons) of the sulfur powder with 1 cup (8 oz) of lotion and make an 11% sulfur lotion. It’s easier to measure that way and you probably can’t tell the difference between 10% and 11% lotion. They’ll both work.

A tidy trick

Put the lotion in a ziploc bag. Add the sulfur powder. Press out the excess air and seal the bag. Now just mush the lotion and powder around with your hands and you’re done!

Full disclosure: I have personally bought and used almost everything I mention on my web site. I search for good deals on good products for myself and tell you where to find them. If you buy from Amazon I do get a small commission, but you get the same price you would anyway. Most of the other stores I mention pay me nothing, but if they are convenient or have a good deal, I tell you.

Thanks for your support. I'm not getting rich doing this. When folks use the product links I can see they care. It is a fair amount of work keeping the site up. And of course you can email me anytime.