Known as gandhak in the vedas, sulphur, a natural mineral, has been used in skin care for ages. The healing powers of holy rivers such as the Ganges are often attributed to plentiful deposits of sulphur.
Sulphur does not disappoint when it comes to acne prone skin. It is not a popular acne treatment, but is a powerful one that if used correctly can clear up your blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and cystic acne quickly.
Why use sulphur for acne
- It is keratolytic, meaning it increases the shedding of skin cells, thereby keeping the pores from getting clogged. No clogged pores = no pimples (more or less).
- It dries up the oil, so it is very beneficial for those struggling with very oily skin.
- It is an anti-bacterial that decreases the growth of acne causing bacteria.
- It helps with reducing the redness and swelling of pimples.
As a result, you see quick results in the form of reduced oiliness, dried pimples and less redness.
Taken internally, gandhak or sulphur is said to stimulate a toxified liver, an oft-stipulated reason for acne.
How to select a sulphur product for acne
Unless you can take daily dips in one of the holy rivers or have a sulphur spring nearby, you will have to settle for sulphur in a bottle.
Sulphur can be used both topically (applied on skin) and orally (taken internally by mouth).
Sulphur containing products are not easily available in the mainstream market. In the western countries, many people report excellent results from using Methyl Sulfonyl Methane (MSM), an organic form of sulphur. This MSM is not to be confused with MMS cream (Mometasone) which is a steroid and must be avoided. In India, sulphur is available in ayurvedic and homeopathic formulations.
If you have never used a sulphur product, you will need to rule out an allergy to it. An allergy can lead to rashes, hives and breathing difficulties. Check with your family if anyone has a sulphur / sulfa alllergy before using any of these products.
The safest way to incorporate it into your acne care regimen is to use a sulphur soap such as Sastid or any of the ones mentioned in the list below. Especially if you struggle with excessive oiliness.
Then you could try a cream or lotion. Limited information is available about their composition, but I have listed everything I could find.
The third and most powerful way to use it is in the form of tablets or capsules. Although you will see quick results with sulphur tablets, it is best if you meet an ayurvedic or homeopathic doctor before taking them. It is not difficult to find such a doctor in India.
The products listed below are not my recommendations, but just options available to you in India.
|Dermosun soap||sulphur 1.5 %, aloe vera 1 %, neem leaf extract 1 % (Rs. 35 for 100 gm bar)|
|Sastid soap||salicylic acid 3 %, sulphur precipitated 10 % (Rs. 66 for 50 gm)|
|Acne Aid soap by GSK Stiefel||6.38% sulphonated surfectant (Rs. 98 for 100 gm bar). It is also available as a liquid face wash.|
|Acnil soap||Sulphur, Salicylic acid (Rs. 40 per bar)|
||Medimix soap review here|
|Proactiv Refining Face Mask||It is a sulphur face mask that can be used as a spot treatment or applied all over the face for reducing excessive oiliness. (Rs. 600 for 70 gm)|
Now you have to be careful in selecting a cream, because many of the products contain a pore-clogging cream base that can nullify the effect of sulphur by clogging pores and causing pimples. Gel formulas are safer that way, so maybe look for a sulphur gel instead of a cream.
|Acne Guard cream by Wings Pharma||2.5% sulphur (Rs.23.44- per 20 gm)|
|Tynej-forte cream by Luxica Pharma||5% sulphur, 10% benzoyl peroxide|
|Persol Forte||10% benzoyl peroxide, 5% sulphur|
| Healwell Sulphur Cream
|Shahnaz Husain Shaclear Skin Clear Anti Pimple Lotion||Rs. 500 for 100 ml|
|Rosacnil Gel||Rosacnil Gel review|
|Der-9 Gel by Maximaa Proyurveda||Gel containing purified sulphur. Rs. 68 for 50 gm tube|
|Olprick-Z lotion||calamine 6 %, sulphur precipitated 3 %, zinc oxide 6 %, glycerin 4 %|
Homeopathic sulphur ointments
Sulphur supplements (capsules, tablets)
|Baidyanath Rakta Shodhak Bati||Some of us here have used these tablets. They act fast and you can see a difference within 2-3 days. Baidyanath Rakta Shodhak Bati review|
| Purodil capsules
||more information here|
Gandhak Rasayan is sulphur mixed with a few other herbs. It is best used in consultation with an ayurvedic practitioner.