There are many products on the market with show-stopping claims of clearing acne. Nonetheless, Sulfur is a little touted, but time-tested ingredient that is phenomenal for clearing pores and acne.
This ancient remedy is immortalized in history as brimstone, as it is found near hot springs and volcanic areas. It is also the third most common naturally occurring element in the human body. Sulfur resides in muscle, skin, and bones.
How Sulfur Works
Sulfur is keratolytic, a sebum reducer, fungicidal, and antibacterial. It peels off the dead skin cell layer. It also helps to clear oil. Although this ingredient can be a little “rotten egg” like odiferous, it is multi-effective. It is even used for conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis (super dandruff), rosacea, eczema, yeasty trunk rashes (pityriasis versicolor), and irritated hair follicles.
Due to its mechanism of action, sulfur can clean out dark pores and unplug blackheads. It is somewhat anti-inflammatory and subdues P. Acnes bacteria. Additionally, as a keratolytic, it will exfoliate for a smoother, clearer, complexion.
How to Choose and Use a Sulfur Product
Sulfur based products are best for mild-moderate acne especially little red bumps or blackheads.
This mineral is tolerable by most people without causing much irritation, compared to its counterparts of Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid. It can be drying, so if using a mask, its best to apply once a week, while a wash can be used several times a week.
Sulfur is packaged in many forms, like soaps, masks, cleansers, gels, creams, ointments, and even mud baths called balneotherapy. Of course, the modalities that keep the substance on the skin longer will have greater results, such as the gels/creams/ointments. Hair bearing areas are easier to penetrate with a wash or smooth sliding gel.
Some sulfur products will be combined with Resorcinol or other acne ingredients. This combination will increase the exfoliating effect.
Overall, sulfur has many unsung uses in skincare and acne. It is a great addition to the humdrum of your typical acne regimen.