If you have acne, you have probably know what salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are for acne treatments. But have you ever used or heard of sulfur for acne?
Although not as popular as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, sulfur has been used for acne-prone skin. Traditional Chinese Medicine found sulfur to be useful, putting it in skin care ointments over 2,000 years ago and Ancient Egyptians have used it for acne and ezcema.
Sulfur works by helping unclog pores and remove dead skin cells and oil on the skin's surface. It dries out the skin and since acne is caused by the overproduction of oil in the sebaceous glands, sulfur reduces sebum and combat breakouts.
How is sulfur different from other acne-fighting ingredients?
Because sulfur is not as potent as other acne-fighting ingredients, it works best on mild acne. Sulfur has keratolytic properties, which breaks down keratin in the skin. When excess bacteria and sebum clog the pores and cause zits, pores cannot shed properly. Sulfur helps regulate the shedding.
Benzoyl peroxide, on the other hand, kills acne-causing bacteria (pimples with white heads) while salicylic acid exfoliates pores filled with oil (blackheads and closed comedones).
Sulfur is a more gentle alternative to benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, so those who react poorly to benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid should give it a try. Sulfur can also be combined with products that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid for optimal results in treating acne.