Ichthammol Ph. Eur.


CAS no. 8029-68-3

Ichthammol is obtained by distillation from certain bituminous schists, sulfonation of the distillate and neutralisation of the product with ammonia.

It is also called Ammonium bituminosulfonate or ammonium bituminosulphonate.

Ichthammol is widely used in various creams and ointments for treatment of dermatological diseases, mainly psoriasis and eczema. It is also used in veterinary medicine. 

BHM Chemicals is a supplier of high quality Ph. Eur. grade Ichthammol suitable for use in dermatology and veterinary preparations. 

Minimum order quantity: 10kg

Ichthammol, a unique and lesser-known topical ointment, has been used for various medicinal purposes for decades. 


  1. Chemical Composition. Ichthammol, also known as ammonium bituminosulfonate, is a viscous, dark brown to black ointment with a distinctive, strong odor. Its chemical composition primarily consists of sulfur-rich shale, which gives it its characteristic color and odor. Ichthammol contains various organic compounds, such as hydrocarbons and sulfonated derivatives, which contribute to its therapeutic properties.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory and Antimicrobial Properties. One of the key properties of ichthammol is its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity. It has been used traditionally to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and treat skin infections. The exact mechanisms of these actions are not fully understood, but ichthammol is believed to inhibit certain enzymes and modulate the immune response, which helps alleviate skin conditions.
  3. Drawing Agent. Ichthammol is often referred to as a "drawing agent" because of its ability to promote the drainage of pus from abscesses and boils. It is thought to work by softening the skin and promoting the flow of fluids, which can aid in the resolution of localized infections and inflammation.


Treatment of Skin Conditions

  1. Ichthammol is primarily used in dermatology for various skin conditions, including:
  2. Boils and Abscesses: Ichthammol ointment is applied topically to boils and abscesses to help draw out pus and promote healing. It can reduce pain and discomfort associated with these conditions.
  3. Acne and Pimples: Some individuals use ichthammol ointment as a spot treatment for acne and pimples. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce redness and swelling associated with these skin blemishes.
  4. Eczema and Psoriasis: Ichthammol can provide relief for itchy and inflamed skin in conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It may help reduce itching and soothe irritated skin.
  5. Splinters and Foreign Objects: Ichthammol is sometimes applied to the skin over a splinter or foreign object to draw it to the surface, making it easier to remove.
  6. Wound Care. Ichthammol can be used to aid in wound care, particularly for wounds with localized infections or pus. It may help clean and disinfect wounds, reduce inflammation, and promote the natural healing process. However, it should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
  7. Veterinary Use. Ichthammol is not limited to human medicine; it is also used in veterinary medicine to treat various skin issues in animals, such as skin infections, abscesses, and insect bites.


  1. Effective for Boils and Abscesses. One of the significant benefits of ichthammol is its efficacy in the treatment of boils and abscesses. A study published in the "Journal of Drugs in Dermatology" in 2011 found that the use of ichthammol-based ointment was effective in resolving uncomplicated skin abscesses. It helped reduce pain and promoted the drainage of pus.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory and Soothing. Ichthammol's anti-inflammatory properties make it a valuable option for soothing skin irritations, particularly in conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It can provide relief from itching and discomfort, improving the quality of life for individuals with these conditions.
  3. Versatile and Accessible. Ichthammol is readily available over the counter in various formulations, such as ointments and creams. Its versatility makes it accessible to individuals seeking relief from minor skin issues without the need for a prescription.

Safety Considerations

While ichthammol is generally considered safe for topical use, there are some important safety considerations:

  1. Allergic Reactions. Some individuals may be sensitive or allergic to ichthammol, leading to skin irritation or contact dermatitis. It is essential to perform a patch test before using ichthammol extensively.
  2. Consultation with a Healthcare Professional. For more severe skin conditions, persistent symptoms, or if there is uncertainty about the appropriate use of ichthammol, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist. They can provide guidance on the most suitable treatment and ensure that the underlying condition is properly addressed.
  3. Avoid Ingestion. Ichthammol is for external use only and should never be ingested. Keep it out of reach of children.

Ichthammol, with its unique properties and historical use, continues to be a valuable tool in dermatology and wound care. Its ability to draw out pus, reduce inflammation, and provide relief for various skin conditions makes it a versatile and accessible treatment option for many individuals.

When considering the use of ichthammol, it is important to perform a patch test if you have not used it before and to consult with a healthcare professional for more severe or persistent skin issues. While ichthammol offers benefits for localized skin conditions, a thorough evaluation and diagnosis by a medical professional may be necessary for more complex cases.

As scientific research and dermatological advancements continue, it is crucial to stay informed about the latest developments in skincare and treatment options.

Please note that the information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any skincare regimen or treatment.


  1. Talan DA, et al. (2011). A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of a Topical Antimicrobial Agent for Treatment of Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Skin Infections. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2021). Ammonium bituminosulfonate. PubChem





Acidity or alkalinity

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Sulphated ash

Dry matter:

Total ammonia:

Organic Sulphur :

Sulphur in Sulphates:




Dense, blackish-brown liquid. Miscible with water and with glycerol, slightly soluble in ethanol (96%), in fatty oils and in liquid paraffin. It forms homogeneous mixtures with wool fat and soft paraffin.

Conforms to Ph. Eur. tests

As per Ph. Eur. test: Not more than 0.2 ml of 0.02 M HCl or 0.02 M NaOH is required to change the colour of the indicator

1.040 - 1.085

Maximum 0.3%

50.0% - 56% m/m

4.5% - 7.0% m/m (dried basis)

Minimum 10.5% m/m (dried basis)

Maximum 20.0% m/m

Non-hazardous chemical

Keep container tightly closed in a cool and dry place and protected from light. Protect from contamination by foreign substances.