Can Using Sulfur Help in Your Acne?

Acne is the other word for common day to day ugly red bumps that are called pimples or zits.

The occurrence of acne is not specific to age but usually start occurring during the teenage years and could occur upto 40s or 50s.

acne can also occur due to reasons beyond our control, like chemical imbalances in one’s body.

Before opting for any treatment for your acne, always do a thorough check and find out the best medication that would suit your skin type and acne conditions.

What is Sulfur Treatment for Acne?

Sulfur has been used for hundreds of years to treat different types of skin conditions. It, in fact, dates back to the ancient Roman period.

It is found naturally in geysers (like Old Faithful in the Yellowstone National Park) and other hot water springs.

Sulfur is a naturally occurring element and is also known by the name ‘brimstone’.

It is available as a prescription ointment or in the form of over the counter skin care products. It is often used along with other chemicals and is rarely used by itself.

Sulfur, a naturally occurring element has a particularly offensive odour, usually referred to as a “smell of rotten eggs”.

It is partly because of this reason that sulphur is not used as a treatment by itself.

However, when other chemicals are added to the products, the smell is considerably reduced.

A large number of sulphur based products are available in the market nowadays to treat acne.

When is Sulfur used to treat Acne?

Sulfur belongs to a family of chemicals known as keratolytic.

A ‘keratolytic’ basically removes the upper layer of your skin by dissolving the keratin on the top surface.

This shedding of the top layer of the skin is useful if you have acne since the newer skin will then be able to replace the peeled away layer of older, blemished skin.

With the upper layer of skin getting peeled away, the clogged pores also become unclogged.

The use of sulphur thus has the added benefit of unclogging the pores and also acts as an effective anti-bacterial agent.

How to use Sulfur for Acne?

Sulfur comes in a variety of skin products. It is used in various soaps, washes, creams, lotions, and cleansers.

Read the instructions given on the product you have chosen and apply accordingly. Usually, it ought to be applied 2-3 times a day.

It could differ from person to person depending on their individual needs.

Some products are meant to be used as a mask, i.e. you keep it overnight while others you should wash off within a few minutes. Pay close attention to how the product needs to be used.

Benefits of using Sulfur

  • The keratolytic property of sulfur clears the top acne-prone layer of skin and then effectively destroys the bacteria inside the acne. This keeps the acne from resurfacing.
  • It encourages the growth of new skin cells by exfoliating the superficial layer of the skin.
  • Though the treatment of sulfur essentially works by drying the skin, it doesn’t lead to too much dryness, unlike other products.
  • Sulfur is effective in treating blackheads, whiteheads, inflammation and pimple lesions.
  •  It reduces the skin’s oiliness and prevents pores from getting clogged.

Treatment limitations

  • The use of sulphur is able to bring about results only in the case of mild acne. It cannot help in cases of severe acne.
  • The smell of sulphur is not an easy one to digest. It has been commonly referred to as having a “rotten egg” smell. The use of any treatment with sulphur as its product might be smelly. This actually dissuades more people from using sulphur as a treatment for their acne.
  • Depending on the levels of sulfur in the treatment you have chosen, there are chances of slight skin discoloration. IT could lighten or darken the skin as per the skin’s reaction to the amount of sulphur in the treatment.
  • It works on the top surface only and thus will not be effective in treating acne which is rooted deeply in the skin like cystic acne.
  • Since it promotes cells growing closer to one another a.k.a cell adhesion it could lead to possible development of further acne lesions.

Cost of Sulfur Treatment for Acne

The cost of most of these sulphur contained skin-care products are relatively less expensive than other treatments in the market. It would cost around $6-$15.

It is available in various kinds of skin care products like creams, lotions, cleansers, and washes. It is always best to consult a dermatologist before you undertake any medication for acne. Sulfur is also available as supplements nowadays.

Sulfur is also naturally present in egg yolks, broccoli, onions, asparagus, and red bell peppers – in case you wish to add it to your diet.

Precautions with Sulfur Treatment for Acne

  • If one’s skin has a predisposition towards dryness or peeling it would be highly recommended that a dermatologist is consulted before starting on treatment of sulphur.
  • In case one has chapped, irritated or sunburnt skin it is best that you wait till your skin has healed before you use sulphur on your skin.
  • In case the product you are using causes a lot of dryness of your skin, it is necessary to consult a dermatologist.
  • Effect of sulphur on a developing foetus is not known and it is always best to ask your doctor for advice in case one is breastfeeding as well.
  • Try not to wear it in the sun as it could cause you to have a burning sensation o your skin.
  • Before you start on any treatment make sure you are not allergic to it.
  • Those who suffer from kidney problems should avoid using sulphur.

What customers think about using Sulfur to treat Acne

We analyzed online buyer reviews to understand what works and what does not for Sulfur Treatment. Here is the summary of our analysis of key positives and limitations.

What people liked about this treatment

The decrease in inflammation: The majority of users have felt that the use of sulphur to treat acne has caused a significant reduction to the inflammation of their acne. This is due to its anti-bacterial and keratolytic properties.

No negative side-effects: Many users have felt that their skin had absolutely no side effects while using a sulphur based skin treatment. Many other products cause a lot of irritation to the skin for many reasons, however, sulphur treatments seem to have had the least number of complaints regarding skin irritation.

Reduces acne scars : Because sulphur causes the skin to regenerate and renew itself, the scars left behind by acne lesions are also visible reduced as observed by many of the users.

Works really fast: For really quick and rapid results for acne, sulphur is the go-to treatment, especially for mild acne. The results of using sulphur – which include clearer skin and reduction of acne, occur within a week at the most.

What people did not like about this treatment:

Bad Smell: The smell of sulphur, like that of rotting eggs, is a big turnoff for most of the users. Though seemingly effective, the nasty odor which lingers is certainly a major drawback in the case of this treatment.

Works well only for mild acne: The use of sulphur has admittedly been given good reviews by most for dealing with mild acne. However, it has no visible effect on those having bigger pimples and severe cases of acne. Sulfur will not work in all cases of acne.

Redness and Dry Skin: Due to the fact that sulphur causes a thinning of the outer epidermis, will in effect cause redness of skin during the period of treatment. Many have felt that their skin also becomes highly dry because of its peeling action.


Sulfur is an ancient medicine which has stood the test of time. The use of sulphur has continued since the days of the ancient Romans and today it is available in many over the counter skin-care products.

The exfoliating and anti-bacterial properties of sulphur help in clearing acne and acne scars. It helps only in cases of mild acne and is not of much use for severe cases of acne or cystic acne.

Many who use sulfur do complain about the nasty smell that accompanies it. But if you can brave the smell, the use of sulphur might bring about the much desired, blemish-free skin.

1 thought on “Can Using Sulfur Help in Your Acne?”

  1. I'd like to find out more? I'd want to find out some additional information.


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