Skincare Active Ingredients

Sulfur in skincare – Complete Guide

Sulfur is an underrated ingredient that not many people know about it likely due to the fact that it has an egg like-smell, but many formulations are able to mask this odor. Let’s dive into this ingredient and understand it.

  • It dries out the excess oil on the skin’s surface which can help with oily and acne-prone skin.
  • Keratolytic: sulfur is keratolytic which means that it can shed dead skin cells on top of our face and hence prevent clogged pores and prevent acne.
  • Anti-bacterial: sulfur can kill the bacteria in acne and reduce it. It can help with whiteheads and blackheads.
  • Anti-fungal: sulfur can reduce the overgrowth of yeast that causes fungal acne and dandruff.
  • Anti-inflammatory: It can reduce inflammation and can also help with skin conditions such as rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis. Consistent use can reduce red bumps.

Cons of using Sulfur:

  • It can be drying and super-sensitive to the skin.

Who can use it?

Sulfur won’t be suitable for all skin types because it can be drying and is super sensitive to skin. Make sure to still conduct a test patch as it can be irritating at high concentrations.

What skin ingredients can I use Sulfur with?

Sulfur can be very effective with other anti-acne ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and sodium sulfacetamide, but know that using these ingredients together can increase dryness.

How to choose the best sulfur product for the skin?

Sulfur is there in every form of skincare like cleansers, exfoliators, face masks, lotions, etc. They are available OTC without prescription.

How to add sulfur to my skincare routine?

  • If sulfur is present in your cleanser and moisturizer, you can use it in the morning and night.
  • You can use it to exfoliate your face at night.
  • You can use it in combination with retinol at night to treat acne.
  • Caution: make sure to keep the sulfur product away from wounds and cuts.

Sodium Sulfacetamide and Sulfur:

Sodium sulfacetamide and sulfur applied topically can help to fight bacteria on the skin. This combination can treat acne vulgaris, rosacea, and seborrheic dermatitis.

This combination was tested on many patients along with a topical acne medication (retinoids). The patients did not experience any irritation when using this combination but had some side effects (which is normal but didn’t interfere with the experiment) from using a retinoid.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does sulfur clog pores?

Topical sulfur does not cause clog pores. Studies show that 5% lotion applied 1-2 times daily containing sulfur can decrease the burden of inflammatory lesions and can also help with oily skin.

Does sulfur cause purging?

No, sulfur does not cause purging because it does not promote cell turnover. What you might be experiencing are breakouts as sulfur can be drying and is super sensitive to the skin.

Is sulfur good for perioral dermatitis?

Yes, sulfur is a really good option for treating perioral dermatitis because of its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and keratolytic properties.

Can sulfur be used for seborrheic dermatitis?

Yes, sulfur can be used for treating perioral dermatitis because of its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.