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Sodium Bituminosulfonate for Rosacea


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Image of naturally burning oil shale on a coast near Kimmeridge, on 18th August 2000, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

What is Sodium Bituminosulfonate?
"Ammonium bituminosulfonate or ammonium bituminosulphonate (synonyms of ichthammol, CAS#8029-68-3 brand name: Ichthyol) is a product of natural origin obtained in the first step by dry distillation of sulfur-rich oil shale (bituminous schists)." Wikipedia

"There are also no systematic studies on the use of schist oil extracts such as ammonium bituminosulfonate and sodium bituminosulfonate;" [1]

"Most tar compounds are derived from coal tars, but oil shale tars (ichthammol), juniper tars (cade oil), or pine tars are sometimes used." [2]

Sodium Bituminosulfonate for Rosacea
It is of interest to note that a paper states, "Sodium bituminosulfonate is derived from naturally occurring sulphur-rich oil shale and is used for the treatment of the inflammatory skin disease rosacea....The aim of this study was to address the molecular mechanism(s) underlying the therapeutic benefit of the formulation sodium bituminosulfonate dry substance (SBDS), which is indicated for the treatment of skin inflammation, including rosacea....In summary, SBDS reduces the generation of inflammatory mediators from human neutrophils possibly accounting for its anti-inflammatory effects in rosacea." [3]

Another paper on this subject states, "The aim of this study was to address the molecular mechanism(s) underlying the therapeutic benefit of the formulation sodium bituminosulfonate dry substance (SBDS), which is indicated for the treatment of skin inflammation, including rosacea." [4]

History of Sodium Bituminosulfonate
"One of these “old” substances is ammonium bituminosulfonate, which was already introduced in 1882 as “Ichthyol”. Its pale analogue was made known in the 1930s as “Ichthyol, light”. However, the mechanism of the antimicrobial activity of bituminosulfonate is still unclear. These compounds are water-soluble substances obtained from the sulfur-rich oil shale and represent the two fractions, which are the pale sulfonated shale oil (PSSO) and the dark sulfonated shale oil (DSSO), from the dry distillation process. The few available publications on bituminosulfonate involve a variety of microbial species in outdated research experiments and give only very limited insights on the in vitro mechanism and activity. A recent publication by Idelevich and Becker focused on the in vitro activity of sodium bituminosulfonate within the scope of current recommendations for antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST), revealing activity against Gram-positive pathogens. [bold added for emphasis] [5]

"Revival of old antibiotic compounds is a promising strategy to strengthen the antimicrobial armamentarium in the era of increasing resistance and limited development pipelines. To exploit their full potential, their reinvestigation using current standards is needed. We aimed to investigate the in vitro activity of the old antimicrobial agent sodium bituminosulfonate in accordance with the current recommendations for antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) and to generate susceptibility data reflecting the current epidemiological situation." [bold added for emphasis] [6]

Sodium Sulfacetamide - Sulfur has been used to treat rosacea for many years. [7]


Sulphur or Sulfur for Rosacea

End Notes

[1] Dermatological medication and local therapeutics
Christof Schaefer, Gudula Kirtschig, in Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation (Third Edition), 2015, Ichthammol, Science Direct

[2] Dermatopharmacology and Topical Formulary
William L. Weston MD, ... Joseph G. Morelli MD, in Color Textbook of Pediatric Dermatology (Fourth Edition), 2007, Ichthammol, Science Direct


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[4] Journal of Inflammation Research » Volume 14
Sodium Bituminosulfonate Used to Treat Rosacea Modulates Generation of Inflammatory Mediators by Primary Human Neutrophils
Susanne Schiffmann, Sandra Gunne, Marina Henke, Thomas Ulshöfer, Dieter Steinhilber, Annette Sethmann, Michael J Parnham 

[5] Microorganisms, 8 December 2020; Published: 10 December 2020
Investigation of In-Vitro Adaptation toward Sodium Bituminosulfonate in Staphylococcus aureus
Marko Blisse, Evgeny A. Idelevich, and Karsten Becker 

[6] Microb Drug Resist. 2020 Nov;26(11):1405-1409.  doi: 10.1089/mdr.2019.0390. Epub 2020 Mar 17.
In Vitro Activity of Sodium Bituminosulfonate: Susceptibility Data for the Revival of an Old Antimicrobial
Evgeny A Idelevich, Karsten Becker

[7} Sodium Sulfacetamide - Sulfur

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