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Sulfur

goodie
Irritancy: 0
Comedogenicity: 0-3

Details

A yellowish element that smells of rotten eggs and it might be familiar to you from the periodic table (has the symbol S in there).  It has a long history of medicinal use thanks to its antifungal, antibacterial and keratolytic activity.   It used to be a very common ingredient in the treatment of inflammation-related skin diseases such as acne, rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis, however, due to its malodorousness, it is less popular nowadays. 

Sulfur's precise mechanism of action is not known, but we do know that its effectiveness depends on its direct interaction with the skin surface, meaning the smaller the particle size, the better the effect. The United States Pharmacopeia lists two types of sulfur, sublimed and precipitated. The latter one has a smaller particle size and counts as a superior version. 

Sulfur is also a team-player and works well when combined with other anti-acne agents, such as salicylic acid or sodium sulfacetamide. In fact, the combination of 10% sodium sulfacetamide and 5% sulfur is the active ingredient duo of several Rx-only anti-acne products. 

As for the disadvantages, there is the rotten egg smell.  Also in higher concentrations, it might cause a mild burning sensation and dry skin.  If you are new to sulfur, patch testing it first is a good idea. 

Show me some proof

  • Gupta, Aditya K., and K. Nicol. "The use of sulfur in dermatology." Journal of drugs in dermatology: JDD 3.4 (2004): 427.

Products with Sulfur

AcneFree Therapeutic Sulfur Mask Earth’s Care Acne Spot Treatment Glytone Acne Tinted Spot Treatment Glytone Acne Treatment Mask Jason Dandruff Relief Treatment Shampoo LANCER Clarifying Detox Mask with Green Tea + 3% Sulfur MALIN + GOETZ 10 % Sulfur Paste Acne Treatment PROSACEA Medicated Rosacea Gel Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Mask Asepxia Acne Facial Cleanser Epionce Purifying Spot Gel Sidmool ACBYE Sulfur Pack Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask skincity skincare Balancing Sulfur Mask Acnol Lotion For Acne Dermologica Clear Start Blackhead Clearing Fizz Mask San Marcos Sulfur Ointment ZO® SKIN HEALTH Zein Obagi Sülfür Mask o3+ Purifying Sulfur Cooling Mask Botanical Lab Clay & Sulfur Drying Lotion Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque Mario Badescu Drying Lotion Mario Badescu Drying Mask Cosmedix Clear Deep Cleansing Mask ELIXIR COSMECEUTICALS Sulfactil Cleanser Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque Algenist Perfect Clarifying Pore Corrector Mask DRMTLGY Clay Mint Mask Dead Sea Spa Magik Spot-On Gel Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 1970 VMV HYPOALLERGENICS Red Better Spot Corrector Mask Repair Acne Emulsie Antiseboreica Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 W Murad Advance Acne And Wrinkle Reducer Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 V Martina Gebhardt Aloe Vera Face Lotion Skinfood Egg White Pore Hot Steam Pack Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 bareMinerals Blemish Rescue™ Skin-Clearing Loose Powder Foundation Skinfood Egg White Perfect Pore Cleansing Water Tarte Knockout Tingling Treatment Eminence Organics Clear Skin Willow Bark Exfoliating Peel it Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Cc+ Oil-Free Matte With Spf 40 Revitalash Thickening Conditioner Revitalash Thickening Shampoo