Sulfur for Acne

Sulfur And Acne <image> | Pimples. | YoDerm Blog

Sulfur has been used to treat skin conditions for hundreds of years. Even today sulfur can be effective to treat very mild acne. Still, there are far more effective options that you should consider for clearing your skin.

How does sulfur work to treat acne?

Sulfur is what’s known as a keratolytic. When applied, a keratolytic dries the skin and makes for a thinner epidermis. As you know, a pimple occurs when your pore is blocked, trapping oil and bacteria within. Sulfur helps the skin shed quicker, thus unclogging the pore and healing the acne.

Along with it’s ability to regulate the shedding of your skin, sulfur also has some antimicrobial qualities. This means the sulfur can kill the acne-causing bacteria that is trapped within your pore. Basically, the sulfur helps open the pore and then helps minimize the bacteria inside.

Sounds like a sure fix. Why shouldn’t I use it??

There Are Proven Options that Work Better than Sulfur for Acne

Only for Mild Acne: Sulfur does have some keralytic qualities mentioned above, but there are other proven treatments considered much more effective. The two most common treatments are sacylic acid and retinoic acid (topical retinoids).

Rotten eggs: Treatments that include sulfur naturally smell like sulfur. Other scents that include sulfur are rotten eggs, a skunk’s odor, and garlic. (You do the math…sulfur smells bad.) Studies have shown that sulfur’s harsh scent makes it harder for patients to maintain continued use.

Skin discoloration: Some sulfur products can cause your skin to lighten or darken depending on your skin tone and the levels of sulfur in the product.

Go with the better options:

There is some research to suggest that some sulfur products work. However, if you don’t want to deal with the smell or try unproven products, sacylic acid and/or topical retinoids are your best bet. If you are already using an acne treatment, make sure to consult your doctor before adding sulfur to your routine. When combined with other acne treatments, sulfur can cause irritation and sun sensitivity.

Everyone’s skin is different. To get the right acne treatment that will work best for your skin type and acne severity, always consult a dermatologist. If you don’t have a dermatologist, or want a more convenient way to receive a consultation, check out an online dermatology service


Since you made it to the end of this article, and since we are in the giving season, I’m giving away a free copy of our new ebook, 10 Steps To Clear Skin, to all of our readers (that’s you)! Normally this book is $79 (after reading it you’ll see why), but it’s free for you: Click Here


  1. Gupta et al,. “The Use of Sulfur in Dermatology.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology 3.4 (2004): n. pag. Web. <>;.
  2. Danby, F. “Rosacea, Acne Rosacea, and Actinic Telangiectasia.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 52.3 (2005): 539-40. Web. <>;
  3. Strauss et al,. “Guidelines of Care for Acne Vulgaris Management.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 56.4 (2007): 651-63. Web. <>;.
  4. Del Rosso et al,. “The Use of Sodium Sulfacetamide 10%-Sulfur 5% Emollient Foam in the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris.” The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology 2.8 (2009): n. pag. Web. <>;.


16 thoughts on “Sulfur for Acne

  1. I actually have to disagree with some of the comments regarding using Sulfur Soap used to treat acne. My reason to try it was pretty much my last straw after spending hundreds of dollars on treatments and years of frustration. It is very affordable so I thought I had nothing to loose. Sulfur has a Natural Keratolytic effect on the skin and it also has some salicylic acid so yes, it helps to exfoliate. (my Dr. told me this) Its also Anti-Bacterial Anti- Fungal and Anti-septic so great for any skin ailment like Acne, but also works for Tinea Versicolor, dermatitis and other fungal conditions. My husband and I wash with it after we work out . You feel super clean too. My dermatologist started carrying it about a year ago and now we use it as daily cleanser in addition to our deodorant soap that keeps my blemishes and skin conditions at bay. We did not experience any rotten egg smell. Been Using a Joesoef’s Natural Volcanic Sulfur Soap and it smells good. And it clearly does not change the color of my skin since I’ve been using it for a year. Hope this helps

  2. I agree with Gina! I’m post-menopausal and have suffered with mild acne for years. I have been on so many different meds over the years,(other than accutane), to no avail.
    Using sulphur soap with salicycic acid (SAL3) cleared my skin. I also use jojoba oil for a moisturizer as it mimics sebum.

    • My sister also has been suffering from mild acne -she had suffered I should say- and she used sulfur soap as a last resource after many other treatments failed. And yes her skin is clear now! Jojoba oil is wonderful too for this condition. You need to keep your skin moisturized when you have acne. And that’s what she did.

  3. i do have problem with my skin.. specially with my face.. i have acne.. how can i lessen or get rid of this…

    hope to hear your replies..



    • why dont you used Dalacin C capsule and mix it to your cleanser or toner. Promise! It helps or try to search bout dalacin c, it is really effective, swear.

  4. I’ve been using the Grisi sulfur ointment. It’s the only thing that actually dries up my pimples since benzoyle peroxide stopped working.

    • What do you use for washing though, I have terrible acne especially on my some on my chest and scalp a few on my face, I cant stand it anymore, so ive tried Sulfur Soap for my back chest and body, but its not done anything and for my hair and scalp I use baby shampoo, a little success not much, then quinoderm wash for my face with not much effect really, and for as for cream I can only really get to my face as Im to embarressed to let anyone put cream on the rest of my body, but for my face I put panoxyl 10, its just ok, but as I said I can only use that on my face, any info will be great,

      • Does the baby shampoo you use have Mineral Oil in it? Mineral Oil containing products may cause you to break out. Also, avoid junk food & processed foods if you consume it a lot. Try to eat healthier so it can help you too.

  5. My daughter is a Derm Dr. She’s the one that suggested sulphur soap for me. It works wonderful with the humidity weather we get here in the south. The minute the weather changed from winter to summer I started breaking out like an exploded pizza. I was upset cause I am older my skin shouldn’t be breaking out like I’m 16.
    My skin looks and feels cleaner then the expensive stuff I have bought in the past. I am an older adult female and I have not seen the discolor or thin skin comments. Everyone is different. I’m sticking to the sphir soap until I’m told differently.

  6. Sulfur soap just works. I usually use Derma Clean soap or the pink Sulfur drying lotion in the bottle called Bye-Bye-Blemish.

  7. Sacylic acid is definitely not better it did not help my acne at all in fact just irritated my skin when I switched to sulfer products it not only didn’t upset my skin but my completion got way clearer. Sacylic acid and other products similar are just a way for these big company’s to make major profit. Sulfer is way more effective.

  8. I have used many expensive treatments before and now my doctor suggested to use the sulfur Joesoef’s Natural Volcanic Sulfur Soap instead of the salicylic acid cleanser.
    I have been using this soap like a month now. I can feel the difference but I still have the red points on my face where pimples were. My face is not as clear as I wish.
    How long does it take to start clearing up and I mean by that all the red dots on the face disappear?

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