Sulphur, the naturally occurring element known for its unique scent, is also an age-old beauty ingredient. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial nature, it’s a particularly effective remedy for acne – gently exfoliating skin and unclogging pores, balancing oil production and minimising redness. For those dealing with dermatitis and the like, sulphur also provides soothing relief by reducing itching and promoting healing. Below, everything you need to know about the element, and how to use it to treat a range of skin issues.
What exactly is sulphur?
“Sulphur is an element that exists in nature and can be found in soil, plants, foods, and water,” says Andrea Craig, Murad UK education and training manager. But the sulphur used in most skincare products, colloidal sulphur, is slightly different from its organic counterpart. “Unlike traditional sulphur, it’s engineered to have much smaller particles, boosting its potency and effectiveness as an active ingredient.”
Why is it so beneficial when used on acne/acne-prone skin?
“Sulphur helps target the triggers that lead to whiteheads, blackheads and acne formation: namely, excessive oil and inflammation,” shares Craig. “This helps clear congestion and breakouts, while preventing new spots from forming – making this the ultimate corrective and preventative treatment.”
What ingredients does sulphur work best with?
There are three ingredients that Craig advises using alongside sulphur: salicylic acid, kaolin clay and Austrian peat extract. “Salicylic acid helps exfoliate rough and bumpy skin for a smoother texture, kaolin clay helps remove excess oil and shine, while Austrian peat extract – a hydration-replenishing extract ideal for acne-prone skin – helps reduce visible signs of redness and enhance removal of impurities without over-drying skin,” Craig emphasises.
The best sulphur products to try now, according to Vogue:
- Best for blemish control: Kate Somerville EradiKate® Daily Foaming Cleanser
- Best for cleansing: Oskia CityLife Cleansing Concentrate
- Best for decongesting: Murad Rapid Relief Sulfur Mask
- Best for breakouts: Dermalogica Deep Breakout Liquid Patch
- Best spot treatment: Malin + Goetz 10% Sulfur Paste
This article was originally published on British Vogue.