Resorcinol is a chemical compound that serves as an antiseptic,an disinfectant, and a chemical intermediate for the production of many other pharmaceuticals. It goes by several other names, including resorcin, m-dihydroxybenzene, 3-hydroxyphenol, and several more. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry recommended the name Benzene-1,3-diol as the standard name for the substance, but it is more commonly referred to as resorcinol. It is obtained by fusing resins, or hydrocarbon secretions of plants, with potassium hydroxide.
Medically, resorcinol is used as an antiseptic and as a disinfectant. It is often used in ointments for the treatment of skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema. Small concentrations are also used in over-the-counter acne medications, and prescription acne medications often have significantly higher concentrations. Sometimes, it is used as an anti-dandruff agent in various cosmetic products.
In addition to its medical uses, resorcinol also has a variety of chemical uses for industrial and scientific applications. It is used as an intermediate in the production of many pharmaceuticals and other organic compounds. It is also used as a template molecule in supramolecular chemistry, holding target molecules in proper alignments for reactions. Such supramolecular reactions can often be conducted in the solid state, removing the need for chemical solvents that are often harmful to the environment. Sometimes, resorcinol is used in analytic chemistry as well.
Resorcinol is classified as a hazardous chemical. It is combustible, and must be kept away from flames in industrial and lab settings. Inhalation can cause abdominal pain, blue skin, confusion, nausea, and unconsciousness. It can also cause redness and pain when exposed to skin. It is recommended that those working with the chemical wear breathing protection and skin protection.
The hazardous nature of resorcinol extends to the environment; it is considered dangerous to the environment. It is primarily dangerous to aquatic organisms, as it dissolves easily, and may infiltrate their systems with relative ease.
While it has many uses, resorcinol is most commonly used in skin creams for the treatment of acne, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, and other skin disorders. It is also used to treat warts, calluses, and corns. It helps to remove rough, hard, or scaly skin so that natural healing may occur more easily. Typically, it comes in the form of a cream or ointment that is available over-the-counter, though some stronger forms are available by prescription. While it can be absorbed through the skin, in the quantities present in such ointments it is generally not harmful.