Sulfur is one of the most ancient remedies for acne known to man. Since the days of Roman civilization, people have used sulfur as a treatment for skin inflammations and other infections. There are several reasons that some experts recommend sulfur for acne, but it may not be very effective for some people.
One of the main reasons people use sulfur for treating acne is because the element is keratoloytic. This means that it aids in cellular turnover, which results in faster healing from pimples and blemishes. Sulfur is used in many exfoliating products for people with acne prone skin, where the natural keratoloytic properties are assisted by small grains that help remove dead skin and old blemishes.
Some people also recommend sulfur for acne because it has mild antibacterial properties. Bacteria is the root cause of most acne; when dirt or other particles become trapped in the skin, it leads to the inflammation that results in blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. By ridding the skin of bacteria before pimples start, sulfur can reduce the potential for new breakouts. The antibacterial properties of sulfur make it a common component in mask treatments for acne.
Often, the best benefits of using sulfur for treatint acne are achieved through combination with other acne-fighting substances. Sulfur masks often contain other antibacterial substances such as charcoal or tea tree oil. Cleansers and spot treatments with sulfur may also use benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Sulfur is often a good choice for people that like to use only natural products, as it is a naturally occurring element and often used in organic or all-natural skincare products.
Some people prefer to use sulfur for acne as an occasional treatment, since it tends to have a very strong odor often compared to rotten eggs. Since sulfur is used in many natural treatments that avoid artificial ingredients like fragrances, this smell can be quite strong and may be off-putting to some people. If the smell is bothersome, try to limit use of sulfur for acne to once-a-week masks or overnight spot treatments.
Sulfur is generally best for mild to moderate acne, rather than for cystic breakouts. Since the benefits of sulfur take place mostly at the exterior skin surface, the deep infections that cause cystic breakouts may not be much helped by the use of sulfur. People with severe acne may want to consider speaking to a dermatologist about prescription medication for acne if treating with sulfur fails to produce results.