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Irritancy: 0
Comedogenicity: 0-3

Official CosIng Information


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 Dermadoctor Ain'T Misbehavin' Intensive 10% Sulfur Acne Mask & Emergency Spot Treatment Earth’s Care Acne Spot Treatment Earth’s Care Acne Treatment Mask, Sulfur 5% 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 Murad Clarifying Mask PROSACEA Medicated Rosacea Gel Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Mask Rodan + Fields Unblemish Clarifying Mask Asepxia Acne Facial Cleanser Epionce Purifying Spot Gel Erha Acne Care Lab Acne Spot Gel Sidmool ACBYE Sulfur Pack Starville Acne Prone Skin Facial Cleanser Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask Vichy Normaderm Phytosolution Sos Sulphur Paste skincity skincare Balancing Sulfur Mask Acnol Lotion For Acne Bioshield S Skin Solutions Cleansing Bar Dermologica Clear Start Blackhead Clearing Fizz Mask Larissa Acne Lotion Oxecure Facial Liquid Cleanser 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 Shunly Aha + Acne Spot Treatment Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque Heritage Store Hot Springs Sulfur Soap Mario Badescu Drying Lotion Vedette Acne Solution Gel Tea Tree Oil Wishtrend Sulfur 3% Clean Gel Mario Badescu Drying Mask AcneCare Acne Drying Lotion Cosmedix Clear Deep Cleansing Mask ELIXIR COSMECEUTICALS Sulfactil Cleanser ElsheSkin Moisturizer For Acne Equate Spot Corrector La Tulipe Acne Loose Powder Skin game Acne Warrior Ilcsi Sulphuric Serum Mario Badescu Special Healing Powder Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque Dead Sea Spa Magik Mud Mask ElsheSkin Acne Cleansing Wash