As any acne sufferer knows well, there are so many products on the market with breakout-taming claims that it's hard to know which products stand a chance and which should be skipped. And if you've tried formula after formula to no avail, we might just have your new solution: sulfur acne treatments.
"Sulfur is keratolytic, which means it works by softening and thinning the epidermis to prevent clogged pores," explains Arielle Kauvar, MD, of New York Laser & Skincare. "It also reduces the growth of the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria and the blockage of pores." Translation: Oily and acne-prone skin types, take note because sulfur might be the zit-fighting and oil-zapping ingredient you've been searching for.В
Meet the Expert
Dr. Arielle Kauvar is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of New York Laser & Skin Care. Her focus on minimally invasive procedures has earned her awards such as the Beauty Genius Award by Elle for laser surgery innovation.
While Kauvar explains that sulfur alone is less effective than more common ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, it's typically combined with impressiveВ co-hosts (like resorcinol and sodium sulfacetamide) that pack products with a powerful punch.В
But if even glancing at the wordВ sulfurВ has you already sensing the smell of rotten eggs, don't worry-most sulfur acne treatments are loaded with masking odors that overbear the scent. Still, Kauvar does suggest incorporating sulfur treatments into your evening skin care routine, in order to minimize any lingering scents.
Ahead, we rounded up eight sulfur acne treatments to try immediately, including heavy-duty masks, spot treatments, cleansers, and more.ВSunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask $55Shop
Sunday Riley's acne mask is chock-full of wonder-working ingredients: 10% sulfur clears and treats zits, while niacinamide brightens and zinc PCA minimizes excess oil. The mask (which should be left on clean skin for 20 to 30 minutes) is topped off with soothing tea tree and manuka oils, which leave skin smooth and soft.В
After cleansing and toning, smooth two pumps of Clearogen's SulfurВ Acne Lotion across the face to fight breakouts and minimize redness (thanks to a cocktail of salicylic acid, rosemary extract, and aloe).Murad Clarifying Acne Mask $38Shop
вЂњThe clay absorbs oil and impurities,вЂќ explains Kauvar, вЂњwhile the salicylic acid unclogs pores.вЂќ Kauvar notes that the formula is also infused with licorice, which helps combat dark spots.ВKate Somerville EradiKate Daily Foaming Cleanser $38Shop
This foaming cleanser is loaded with 3% sulfur to help clear and prevent breakouts. Kate Somerville also included honey, rice bran, and oat extracts to calm, soothe, and reduce excess sebum.ВDr. Dennis Gross Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask $42Shop
Colloidal sulfur and kaolin pack Dr. Dennis Gross's mask with an acne-fighting, skin-smoothing punch. Smear the product across your face for a 10-minute mask, or spot-treat pores and zits that need extra attention.Dermadoctor Ain't Misbehavin' Intensive 10% Sulfur Acne Mask & Emergency Spot Treatment $48Shop
The 10% sulfur gives Dermadoctor's mask and spot treatment heavy-duty cleansing powers. Combined with witch hazel (which cleanses skin) and soothing-botanicals, Dermadoctor's mask can sit on skin for 15 minutes up to three times per week.Indie Lee Blemish Lotion $26Shop
While Indie Lee's colloidal sulfur zaps excess oil, salicylic acid works to minimize pores. Mineral clay (which gives this overnight spot treatment its Millennial Pink color), strips skin of impurities, so even the most persistent of zits won't stick around.ВPeter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Masque $47Shop
The best part about Peter Thomas Roth's sulfur mask is that it's not limited to your face-the highly concentrated product can treat breakouts on your chest and back, too. вЂњThis mask contains kaolin, which absorbs oil,вЂќ explains Kauvar. The formula, she notes, smells like clay, rather than sulfur.
Next up, check out our all-time favorite acne cleansersВ for a clear complexion.В