One of the oldest known ways to treat acne is with sulfur. Yes, sulfur. The same thing that makes the ends of matchsticks catch fire is also used to treat acne.
In the past, sulfur was called “brimstone” and was used to treat a wide range of skin problems, such as dermatitis, dandruff, rosacea, and warts. It is still used today in skin care products.
Sulfur is a natural substance that has a distinct smell. I think of the smell of rotten eggs. Today’s sulfur skin care products don’t smell nearly as bad as they used to.
There are both prescription and over-the-counter acne treatments that have sulfur in them.
How Sulfur Works
If you put sulfur on your skin, it will dry out and peel. Even though it sounds bad, if you have acne, this is good for your skin.
First, sulfur makes skin less oily. Second, it helps the skin get rid of dead skin cells better, so pores don’t get clogged, which is the start of a breakout. Sulfur also kills bacteria, so it helps keep the Propionibacterium acnes that causes acne in check.
Sulfur Is Best for Mild to Moderate Acne
Sulfur is best for blemishes that aren’t too bad or acne that isn’t too bad. It doesn’t work well for severe acne or cystic breakouts. But it works well for both comedonal acne and acne that is painful. So, sulfur can help your skin if you have red bumps, blackheads, or a mix of the two.
Many skin care products, like soaps and cleansers, lotions, masks, and spot treatments, contain sulfur. It’s also a common treatment for acne at a lot of skin spas and salons.
Most sulfur treatments also have resorcinol or sodium sulfacetamide in them. These ingredients make the treatment work better by making it more anti-inflammatory and moisturizing.
Acne treatments that use sulfur can be used on their own or with another acne treatment. If you do this, it can help your acne clear up faster.
Use a sulfur cleanser you can buy at the store in the morning and a benzoyl peroxide lotion at night. Or, if you go to a dermatologist, he or she might give you a combination of a topical retinoid and a sulfur-based drug.
What types of acne can sulfur treat?
Most likely, sulfur works best for acne that is not too bad.
Whiteheads and blackheads are often the signs of mild acne. Sulfur gets rid of both the buildup of oil and the dead skin cells that cause these comedones.
Moderate acne includes papules and pustules, which are types of inflammatory acne that cause red spots on the skin.
If your acne is mild, sulfur may not be enough to help. But when used with other acne-fighting ingredients like sodium sulfacetamide, it may be helpful.
For severe acne like cystic acne, which usually needs to be treated by a dermatologist, sulfur is not likely to help. The dermatologist may give you medicine or suggest surgery to get rid of the cysts.
Sulfur is a great option for sensitive skin
Is benzoyl peroxide making your skin break out? Does the sight of Retin-A make your skin turn bright red? Your new best friend might be sulfur.
This ingredient for treating acne is usually easier on the skin than many other acne treatments. It’s not the best acne treatment, and there are many other products that work better and faster.
Sulfur is a great way to treat acne if your skin can’t handle the side effects of most other treatments.
The most common side effects of sulfur are skin that is dry, peeling, red, and itchy in a mild way. When you first start treatment, they tend to be worse. If your skin is very sensitive, start slowly and increase the amount you use until you reach the recommended dose.
Some products still have that unique sulfur odor. This is especially true of products made with natural ingredients or for people with sensitive skin, because they don’t usually have extra fragrance ingredients that cover up the smell of sulfur.
If you don’t like the smell very much, try a different brand. The smell can be very different from one thing to the next.
How to Use Sulfur to Get Rid of Acne
Adding sulfur to a larger plan for treating acne could make your products work better. Sulfur gives the skin some stability. It keeps bacteria and inflammation at bay and keeps oil production in check, so it can help you treat existing breakouts and stop new ones from happening.
Sulfur face mask
One of the easiest ways to use sulfur’s healing properties is through a topical product like a spot treatment or face mask.
Sulfur spot treatments for acne use a concentrated dose of sulfur to break down and remove dead skin cells, dry up extra oil, and calm down irritated or inflamed pores.
In a consistent skincare routine
As was already said, sulfur, like any other acne-fighting ingredient, works best when it is used with other acne-fighting ingredients. By sticking to a skincare routine, you can get the benefits of many natural ingredients that are good for your skin and work at the same time.
You can sign up for a monthly subscription to one of our skincare kits, which means that everything you need for a good skincare routine, like toner, cleanser, spot treatment, probiotics, and more, will be sent right to your door.
Our acne-fighting skin care kits are guaranteed to work. That’s because we mix sulfur with other ingredients that we chose carefully based on modern research that has been reviewed by doctors.
Since the beginning of time, sulfur has been used to treat acne. Today, it is easy to get without a prescription or over-the-counter.
Sulfur can kill germs, remove dead skin, and get rid of too much oil. It is not too harsh and can be used on sensitive skin.
Sulfur may work best for acne that is not too bad. Products with sulfur and other ingredients that help fight acne may be able to treat moderate acne.
If you want to learn more about sulfur as a treatment for acne, you should talk to a pharmacist, doctor, or dermatologist.