Say Hello to Sulfur...Your Gentle Acne-Fighting Essential
Whether you've experienced severe acne or occasional breakouts, chances are you've probably tried products formulated with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. However, as popular as these two over-the-counter ingredients may be, there's a third lesser-known ingredient that is just as effective as it is gentle. Say hello to sulfur!
Sulfur is best known for being a prevalent mineral found in rocks, soil, and water—so you were likely today years old when you first learned that you could also find sulfur in some of the most effective acne-fighting products in the market. While we'd love to take credit for being the first to introduce this powerful ingredient, sulfur has been used as a skin treatment for centuries. In fact, both the ancient Egyptians and Greeks used sulfur baths to treat skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. So you're probably asking yourself, "Is sulfur right for my skin type?" We're hoping to help answer that question by the end of this article.
How Does Sulfur Help With Acne?
The FDA has approved 3% Sulfur as an active ingredient for the treatment of acne. But what exactly does it do? Well, to start, sulfur has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce acne flare-ups by drying out the surface of your skin. Drying out excess oil is essential in fighting acne because clogged pores are the primary cause of breakouts. As if fighting breakouts isn't impressive enough, sulfur is also a beneficial choice for treating patients with rosacea or seborrheic dermatitis.
A fun, or maybe not so fun fact about sulfur is that it was typically known for having an unpleasant smell (we don't know how the ancient civilizations dealt with that). Luckily for us, skincare has come a long way since then with added ingredients that eliminate that awful smell. Still, wondering how it works for your particular skin type? We've got you covered.
How Does Sulfur Work for Acne?
If you're looking for a short and sweet summary of how sulfur works, it essentially softens and thins the epidermis, aka the outer layer of the skin, to prevent clogged pores. It also reduces the growth of a specific kind of bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes, a slow-growing skin condition that causes your pores to be inflamed. This is a massive contributor to the formation of acne blemishes.
As mentioned above, when applied topically, sulfur can kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, and act as an antioxidant to help prevent acne scars from forming. However, while it fights acne much like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinoids, sulfur is usually much gentler on the skin.
The critical factor to remember here is that results can vary between skin types. You could experience that sulfur is effective on some but not all of your breakouts. Patience is essential with any acne treatment. Understanding your skin type and discussing your acne concerns with your dermatologist means you're already one step closer to achieving a clearer complexion.
Does Sulfur Irritate Your Skin?
Sulfur is generally gentler in fighting acne and remains one of the safer selections to add to your routine. If you experience irritation after using a product containing sulfur, try switching to a different product or discontinuing the use of the product. If you continue to use the product and experience irritation, contact your doctor for advice on what to do next.
What Kind of Skin is Sulfur Good For?
Anyone who struggles with acne can use sulfur, but it is primarily suggested to oily skin people. This is because it is even more important for their skin type to maintain unclogged pores.
Products to Try!
AcneFree's Sulfur Acne Foaming Cleanser with Lemon Oil is a great choice for acne-prone skin because it combines the anti-inflammatory properties of sulfur with ceramides and oat extracts to support and protect your skin's barrier, helping it to retain moisture. And of course, the lemon oil helps to minimize the odor and adds a nice touch.
Wondering what the scoop is on the added ceramides? Ceramides are lipids that help form the skin's barrier while retaining moisture. They also help protect the skin from environmental irritants—and as you probably know, protecting the skin is even more critical when dealing with acne. Without the proper balance of ceramides, the skin becomes more prone to dryness and irritation.
If you're suffering from acne and you've tried everything under the sun to get rid of it, sulfur could be your answer. Don't give up hope just yet! There are many natural ways to clear up your skin, and sulfur could be one of them.