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Irritancy: 0
Comedogenicity: 0-3


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

Acne Expert Skincare Calming Acne Mask AcneFree Therapeutic Sulfur Mask Control Corrective Sulfur Calming Mask De La Cruz Sulfur Ointment Dermadoctor Ain'T Misbehavin' Intensive 10% Sulfur Acne Mask & Emergency Spot Treatment Dermaharmony 5% Sulfur 2% Salicylic Acid Bar Soap Dr Dennis Gross Drx Blemish Solutions™ Clarifying Mask Dr s wong Sulfur Soap Earth’s Care Acne Spot Treatment Earth’s Care Acne Treatment Mask, Sulfur 5% Face Reality Sulfur Spot Treatment Glytone Acne Tinted Spot Treatment Glytone Acne Treatment Mask Granado Sabonete Barra Granado Facial Enxofre Antiacne Grisi Sulfur Soap Isispharma Sulfur Grisi Jason Dandruff Relief Treatment Shampoo Kiehl’s Breakout Control Targeted Blemish Spot Treatment LANCER Clarifying Detox Mask with Green Tea + 3% Sulfur M.A.D Skincare Acne Drying Lotion 10% MALIN + GOETZ 10 % Sulfur Paste Acne Treatment Murad Clarifying Mask Neutrogena Stubborn Acne Spot Drying Lotion PROSACEA Medicated Rosacea Gel Palmer's Skin Success Anti-Acne Medicated Complexion Bar, Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Mask Proactiv Skin Purifying Mask Rodan + Fields Unblemish Clarifying Mask Rosette Cleansing Pasta (dry Skin) Siegfried Kinatopic Sulfur Barra Soft Services Clearing Clay Multi-use Breakout Treatment Starface Super-sulfur Magic Mask Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Spot Treatment Mask The Grandpa Soap Co. Thylox Bar Soap The Inkey List Acne Clearing Moisturizer Tula Acne All-star 3-in-1 Acne Cleanser, Mask & Spot Treatment Sulfur Acne Treatment Tula Acne All-star 3-in-1 Acne Cleanser, Mask & Spot Treatment Sulfur Acne Treatment Urban Skin Rx Acne And Blemish Control Mask Versed Game Over Acne Drying Treatment bareMinerals Blemish Therapy naturium Sulfur Spot Treatment 8% yes to tomatoes Detoxifying Maximum Strength Blemish Kit Asepxia Acne Facial Cleanser DMK Acu Masque Daughters Of Malaya Sulphur Spot Drying Lotion Dermaharmony Sulfur And Salicylic Acid Soap Dermodality Skin Solutions Blemish Rx Serum Drs Leenarts Aanstiplotion Bij Puistjes Epionce Purifying Spot Gel Erha Acne Care Lab Acne Spot Gel