Once called brimstone, Sulfur has been used for centuries (as early as 5000 years ago) as a popular dermatological treatment. ⠀

(Gupta 2004)⠀
A mild antiseptic – disinfects the skin ⠀

Antibacterial – kills bacteria that cause acnes⠀

Comedolytic – unplug blocked follicles ⠀

Keratolytics – helps exfoliate dead skin cells for a smoother complexion and promoting cellular turnover⠀

Oil control – Especially effective for acne prone and oily skin as it drys up any excess oil.⠀

Previously, it has been reported that sulfur is comedogenic. However, findings were not the same in other studies that re-examined its comedogenic potential. (Lin, Reimer, Carter, 1988)⠀

Since the 1950s, sulfur has been used in the form of 5% sulfur foam + 10% sodium sulfacetamide to make the product emollient without clogging pores, killing acne bacteria fast, at the same time softening and moisturising the skin. Several case studies on patients with acne to test the use of sulfur either monotherapy or in combination with topical agents like tretinoin were mostly favourable. (James Russo 2009). However, depending on your skin sensitivity, these products can be too harsh, resulting in peeling and irritation. Studies have shown that it only works for mild acne.⠀

Sulfur usually reddens the skin, but it brings out the natural skin tone in Asians in Russo’s study.

Its renowned for its ability to bring a pimple to a head/ dry up whiteheads.⠀

For me, its star performance is its ability to reduce surface oil. Only when it’s combined with other powerhouses like salicylic acid and zinc oxide, do we really see great magic happen.

It is recommended not to use if you have allergies to sulfur or kidney diseases, pregnancy, breastfeeding with fragrances, or compromised skin barrier. It is also recommended to use in moderation to avoid dryness, swelling and irritation. Oh & don’t get sulfur product on jewellery as it can blacken silver and gold!⠀

I do reach out to sulfur drying lotions and sulfur masks. Two great sulfur masks I recommend are Peter Roth Thomas and Glam Glow Clearing mud. You should hopefully see some results with both.