Sulfur is one of the common active ingredients used in over-the-counter acne medications. Sulfur has been used for several years in combination with resorcinol, alcohol and salicylic acid.
Sulfacetamide/sulfur for acne combinations are used in various topical creams, gels and cleansers. It is effective not only to treat acne but other skin conditions too like seborrheic dermatitis and rosacea. It can relieve skin irritation and inflammation caused by such skin conditions and it prevents the growth of skin bacteria – P.acnes. Sulfur also dries the skin so that old skin cells peel off and new, healthy skin is revealed.
Sulfur cleansers treat acne by cleaning oil, dirt and makeup from the skin’s surface. It is a very gentle cleanser and safe to use on the skin. Topical sufacetamide/sulfur combinations for acne are not as effective as topical benzoyl peroxide or retinoids. However, it can be used as supplementary treatment for inflammatory acne. Some sulfur for acne lotions or creams that combine with sulfacetamide could contain a colored tint. This serves the dual purpose of treating acne and as a cosmetic cover up for the redness caused due to acne. Some manufacturers supply a blender along with the product. This allows the user to match their skin color with an exact tint.
How to use sulfur for acne
If you are using a sulfur-based gel or jelly, use only on affected areas and do not get in the eyes, nose, mouth, cuts or scrapes. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after using this medicine and read instructions carefully.
When using a sulfur-based cleanser, wet the affected parts and then apply a generous portion of the cleanser day and night. Massage for a few seconds until a lather is formed and then wash your face thoroughly and pat dry. Make sure the cleanser is used only on the skin. If excessive dryness occurs use it sparingly. If there is skin irritation after using the product, then follow it up with a soothing moisturizer.
Side Effects of Sulfur for acne
Use of sulfur for acne has been known to cause allergic reactions. Sometimes sulfur can react to strong acne medications like Accutane (isotretinoin).
Side effects of sulfur for acne:
- Swelling of hands or face
- Tingling or swelling of the mouth or throat
- Chest tightness
- Breathing problems
- Scaling and redness of skin
Inform your doctor if you develop any of these side effects that denote an allergy to sulfa drugs. If not treated at once it can be dangerous.
Other side effects that can occur include skin discoloration when the skin turns black, white or gray. If this discoloration spreads then stop the product. Sulfur has a very strong odor and this can affect users. Some may not just like the smell, while others will develop a strong headache. Your doctor can advise you about using a weaker solution or adding an appropriate fragrance.
Precautions while using sulfur for acne
Sulfur for acne must not be used to treat acne if you have a kidney disease. When using this medication avoid using other OTC medicines and cosmetics on treated areas. Inform your doctor about all medicines you are taking – including supplements – when taking sulfur drugs.
Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or have other infections. Sulfur medications can reduce the occurrence of certain blood cells in the body. This can make you prone to injuries or infections. Hence stay away fro rough sports, wash hands carefully and handle sharp objects like clippers, razors or knives very carefully