DMSO stands for dimethyl sulphoxide. It is an extremely potent solvent that has excellent skin penetrating properties. It can be used alone, or in combination with other ingredients, in which case its main purpose is to allow the other ingredients to penetrate the skin. DMSO has been approved by the FDA for symptomatic relief in patients with interstitial cycstitis, but not for use in IBD.


  • DMSO is known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • Studies have shown that it can relieve pain in patients with genitourinary diseases.
  • DMSO has been shown to be successful and safe in treating interstitiary cycstitis.
  • DMSO can also be used as an ointment to treat horses.

Common Side Effects

  • Skin and breath odour has been noted with DMSO use.
  • There may be skin irritation and local side effects.
  • Gastrointestinal upset can occur (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation etc).
  • Headaches and dizziness are also common.


  • DMSO on its own simply relieves pain- it does not treat the underlying cause or disease, therefore other treatments are necessary.
  • In mice, brain exposure to DMSO has been shown to produce brain degeneration, though there is no evidence of this in humans.
  • In small mammals given large doses of DMSO eye lens changes have been observed. However, no such effect has been found in human patients.
  • As DMSO is such a strong solvent, it will dissolve nitrile gloves, so rubber gloves should be used.
  • Contamination should be avoided, as the DMSO will carry contaminants into the body across the skin.


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