This funky-smelling ingredient combats acne effortlessly

The stink is real.

  • 11.10.2021

share the story

While the inclusion of fragrances in skincare and makeup is generally frowned upon, we’ll admit there is something deeply pleasant about slathering on a bevy of products that suffuse your skin with the scent of rose petals, vanilla, or even cherries. Heck, that is the entire basis of Fenty Skin if we’re going to get pedantic about it. There’s no doubt that smell is a key element og our beauty experience — and so it stands to reason that you might be hesitant about applying something pungent onto your mien. In this case, it’s sulfur. But hear us out: There’s more to this, uh, controversial ingredient than you’d think. We dish the goss, below.

Sulfur? As in the element? 

Yes, that’s right. The naturally occurring element can often be found in rocks and it is an important mineral that aids in plant growth. It can also be found within our bodies such as our hair and, sometimes, we ingest it in the form of chicken, beef, and even wine. So, it’s kinda natural for us to use it topically. 

What are the benefits of sulfur?

Sulfur is a popular ingredient in many acne spot treatment products due to its ability to dry out blemishes. It is also an exfoliant that melts away the dead skin cells that clogs our pores, of which could result in acne. Not to mention, sulfur kills p.bacteria, a notable acne-causing bacteria. It is also commonly used on sensitive skin to treat issues such as rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema. 

How should we incorporate it into our routine? 

Like all good things in life, moderation is key. Prolonged contact with sulfur may cause your face to feel stripped and dehydrated. Hence, it is best to use cleansers and spot treatments containing mild concentrations of sulfur to avoid upsetting the balance of your entire face. We’ve rounded up a list of handy recommendations for your perusal.

Kate Somerville Eradikate Daily Foaming Cleanser

Eradikate is not just punny, it is effective in clearing acne. The sulfur in this product will get rid of the p.bacteria while drying out existing zits. The cleanser is formulated with honey, rice bran, and oat extracts to soothe the skin and decrease redness.

Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Treatment Mask

Although sulfur is drying when used in large concetrations, this product has been formulated to provide potent results without being too harsh. Aside from our star ingredient of the day, the mask also contains bentonite clay that absorbs excess oils and niacinamide, which is said to decrease pore size and brighten the complexion.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Sunday Riley (@sundayriley)

Indie Lee Banish Solution

Remember all those movies and TikToks where the protagonist sports pink spots all over their faces because they are experiencing a stress breakout? Well, said pink dots is likely to contain a mix of sulfur and salicylic acid that is crafted to suck all the oil out of the pimple. It’s what you’ll get with this bad boy, minus the possibility of skin dehydration thanks to the inclusion of zinc oxide that helps to moisturise and hydrate.

Kiehl’s Breakout Control Targeted Acne Spot Treatment

This treatment from Kiehl’s combines both the benefits of sulfur and niacinamide in a fully-blendable formula, allowing users to don it in the day with no hassle. The lack of visible pimple patches or obvious treatment solutions means you’ll be able to avoid the “What is that on your face?” stares. Brilliant. 

Share the story