Anyone who’s dealt with acne in their life has most likely tried out the two most popular treatments; salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid is used as a treatment for acne that is already present, can help reduce the appearance of acne and keep the skin’s pores clean. While benzoyl peroxide is used as a preventative ingredient, aimed to reduce the skin’s tendency to breakout, and keep it clear.
While on my hunt for more natural products I’ve discovered two new acne products that I love; Lush’s Cosmetic Warrior face mask and Alba Botanica’s Fast Fix for a Pimple cream. I always make sure to check out the ingredients thoroughly before purchasing a product and noticed that the two active ingredients in these products are in the same chemical family. Alba Botanic’s pimple cream contains 6% sulfur as it’s active ingredient, and the main ingredient in the Lush face mask is fresh garlic. Garlic’s main cellular components contain sulfur compounds, which is what gives it it’s signature scent.
After finding both of these products very effective and gentle on my skin I was curious about the link between sulfur and acne. Never in my time have I heard of using sulfur compounds as a treatment for acne, but the more research I did, the more I found out this is a very effective ingredient.
Sulfur, according to TheBeautyBrains.com “is a yellow crystalline mineral that has long been used for its medicinal properties. It’s considered an essential element for life because it’s present in two amino acids.” While the exact mechanism of how sulfur and acne interacts is still unknown, the properties of this element allow it to act as an “antimicrobial”. There are essentially two ideas as to how sulfur and acne act together. Sulfur inhibits the growth of B. acnes bacterium and when used in combination with the ingredient sodium sulfacetamide, can lessen the inflammation caused by acne. Additionally, sulfur is said to be drying and can cause an exfoliating effect towards the skin which can reduce acne occurrences.
Most products on the market today mask the signature scent of sulfur in order to make the product more pleasant. Long story short, I’d highly recommend using products with sulfur as an active ingredient to fight acne. Whether you’re looking for a more natural ingredient or are simply tired of trying the same two treatments to keep your skin clear, sulfur may be for you.