Acne, Skin care

Sulfur Acne Treatment – Why is Sulfur used for acne?

Sephora

Sulfur acne treatment is an established method of treating acne that has been around for a long time. This will come as a surprise to many people because sulfur- the same material used on matches and in gunpowder seems one of the last substances that anyone would want to put on their skin.

What is Sulfur?

Sulfur or sulphur to give it its British spelling is a chemical element that is denoted by the letter S. Previously known as brimstone, a name that means; “burning stone” it has a variety of uses including matches, fertilizers and gunpowder. It can be found as a pure mineral but most sulfur production today comes as a by-product of oil refining. Sulfur is easily identified in its natural form by its distinctive “eggy” smell.

Surprisingly it has long been used for acne and sulfur acne treatment is used by many people and still available on sale. In fact, it is found in many over the counter skin preparations, spot treatments and soap and is available from the chemist. Using sulfur on the skin is not a new idea. Ancient baths have been found to contain high levels of sulfur so it seems as if people have been using in on their skin for a long time.

How Sulfur acne treatment works

Sulfur acne treatment works by cleaning out the pores of the skin, killing bacteria and infection and by drying excessive oil in the skin.  In over the counter acne products it is often combined with Benzoyl peroxide or resorcinol.

There are problems associated with sulfur and this method of treatment will certainly not suit everyone especially those with sensitive skin as it has a drying effect and will cause redness and skin flaking in many cases.

Possible side effects of Sulfur acne treatment

Many people are allergic to sulfur and side effects can be serious. They include shortness of breath, swelling of the face and lips, throat closing, skin rash, fever, sores in the mouth or soreness of joints so you should seek urgent medical advice if you experience any of these potentially life threatening effects.

Side effects that are more common include redness and a burning or stinging sensation of the affected area, but this should decrease quickly after treatment.

Tips for using Sulfur acne treatments

Sulfur should not be applied to broken skin and should not be used with any other sulfur products. Another point to watch if you are using a sulfur acne treatment is to make sure that your other skin products such as your toner or cleanser do not also contain sulfur because the combination of the two products could cause a reaction.

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