Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) is a byproduct of the paper-making process, originating from a substance found in wood. It now can be found as a prescription medication as well as a dietary supplement that can be taken by mouth, applied topically, or injected, depending on its intended purpose and effectiveness.
DMSO is most frequently used for muscles and joints as a natural pain reliever. It is excellent as an anti-inflammatory and has many uses as a general pain reliever. DMSO is a pretty unique substance, so let's go over how to properly apply DMSO gel topically.
1) Clean your hands and the application area
DMSO is an amazing carrier! What this means is that DMSO has the ability to enhance the absorption of things that are applied with DMSO or that are already on your skin. (This is one of the reasons we offer essential oil-infused DMSO and blends with things like Magnesium, and vitamins.)
It is important to wash your hands and under your nails thoroughly before using topical DMSO so that any dirt, bacteria, or other unwanted substance doesn’t also absorb into the skin. Similarly, you should always clean the area you plan to apply DMSO, just in case there is some harmful substance on your skin with a molecule small enough to be carried through the skin.
2) Test a patch first
Temporary skin irritation is normal with DMSO, so before the first use, apply it to a small area on your forearm to test your skin sensitivity so you know what to expect. To reduce skin irritation, allow the DMSO to be absorbed for a few minutes (5-20 depending on your sensitivity) and then wipe off any excess. If irritation persists, rinse with cool water.
How to apply DMSO topically
DMSO can be applied directly to your skin with clean hands. If you prefer not to use your hands, you can use a cotton ball to apply it to the desired area. If using liquid DMSO, you can also use a spray top.
Allow it to dry for about 20 minutes, then you can wipe off any excess.
Remember, DMSO is a solvent that can dissolve other substances (like some types of plastic), so make sure your skin is dry before you put on clothes or come in contact with other things.
Your skin may tingle after topically applying DMSO. In some instances, people have reported experiencing a slight smell and/or taste of garlic after applying DMSO topically. A little odd, but nothing to fret about. (Essential oil infused DMSO also helps counteract any lingering smell. Try Frankincense DMSO Gel)
How much should I use?
When using DMSO for pain relief, apply it to an area larger than where the pain is. For example, if your knee is painful, it is recommended that you apply it to six inches above and below your knee, all around the circumference of your knee. If your hand hurts, apply it all the way to the middle of your forearm, and so on.
Dabbing it onto your skin may reduce skin irritation from DMSO use. However, rubbing it in may help it to work quicker and make the effects last longer. It's best to experiment with the amount you use to see how it affects your pain and your body specifically. By experimenting, you’ll find the minimum amount you can use that eases the pain.
With DMSO, a little goes a long way! Start small and apply more as you feel is needed. You will be the best judge of how much and how often to apply it.
How often should I apply?
Some people have been known to apply DMSO anywhere from 1 to 6 or more times per day. Sources and studies show different dosages for different diagnoses.
For instance, for nerve pain, they recommend you apply it 4x daily for up to 3 weeks, but for osteoarthritis, the study had it applied 3x daily for up to 3 weeks.
In a study testing its effectiveness in treating shingles, it was applied within 48 hours of the rash appearing and then reapplied every 4 hours for 4 days.
All that being said, it’s important to listen to your body when using a product like DMSO so that you’re staying safe and using it properly.
For acute conditions, some sources recommend that you apply it every two hours for six to eight hours immediately after the injury occurs. Then, for the next five days or more, apply DMSO every four to six hours.
Typically, the benefits associated with DMSO uses will come in the first three weeks. For chronic conditions, the effects may take longer. Chronic pain patients often have to apply the substance for 6 weeks before a notable change occurs, but many report relief to a degree they had not been able to obtain from any other source. Although some notice some easing of pain right away, it may take six to eight weeks, or even six months in rare cases, for the maximum benefit to be achieved depending on the person and their pain.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.