You’ve likely already heard of sulfur – an element found in nature that plays a number of rolls, from giving garlic its unique smell to making matches ignite as intended. However, it’s likely that you have not considered using it to clear your acne.
Sulfur has been used since ancient times to alleviate skin conditions, including eczema, scabies, and – you guessed it – acne lesions. Putting sulfur on acne causes the top layers of skin to dry out and peel off. At first, this might not sound desirable – but this is a very effective method to fight acne. When the skin layers shed, the pores in that area are unclogged, preventing acne from forming.
After treatment with sulfur, the affected skin tends to produce less oil, leading to fewer clogged pores and less bacteria on the skin that would otherwise lead to breakouts.
Sulfur Acne Treatments
Sulfur acne treatments come in several forms, from the famous sulfur acne mask, to topical creams, ointments, and soaps. Dealing with specific problem zits can be accomplished through the use of specially-formulated spot treatments
All sulfur-containing products are formulated differently, so it’s important to closely follow the instructions printed on the product you purchase. Sulfur is safe when used properly, however, if you follow the instructions for the wrong product, use too much of it, or leave it on for too long (in the case of products which must be rinsed from the skin), you can chemically burn your skin or even aggravate your existing acne.
Although the sulfur mask for acne is the most common treatment option, as previously mentioned, several other sulfur acne treatments do exist. Check your drugstore shelves, or search Amazon for more product information.
- Be careful combining sulfur with other active ingredients. Using it with another chemical exfoliant, such as salicylic acid, can be counter-productive and produce too much irritation.
- If you have a sunburn, rash, or dry skin, avoid using sulfur until your skin has had a chance to heal.
- Sulfur is great to used on areas of the body with thicker, tougher skin.
- The removal of hyperpigmentation is greatly accelerated when using sulfur treatments.
- Pay attention to the percentage content of sulfur as an active ingredient. Stronger formulations will be more aggressive, and should be left on the skin for a shorter duration than weaker formulas.
- It does tend to smell bad. Remember, the smell of garlic and eggs is due to sulfur. However, the unpleasant smell can be entirely eliminated (or covered up) in the right product. This will vary from one formulation to the next, so make sure to smell your mask or ointment before purchasing. This isn’t as important for products that are rinsed off shortly after application.
- Talk to your doctor before combining sulfur with any prescription treatment options.
Regardless of your type of acne, sulfur can be a great option. If you’ve never tried it before, I suggest giving it a go – it may not entirely eliminate your breakouts, but when combined with other treatment options (specifically cleansers and moisturizers), it can be a great acne treatment.