Over-the-Counter Sulfur Acne Medication
Sulfur can effectively treat both blackheads and whiteheads due to its composition. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, sulfur has effectively treated acne patients since the time of Hippocrates. Sulfur is available in over-the-counter cleansing bars, lotions, ointments, creams and washes.
Sulfur consists of a combination of ingredients including benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or resorcinol. Sulfur works by removing excess oil and dead skin cells that cause pores to become clogged. According to the American Academy of Physicians, sulfur is effective at treating inflammatory acne lesions.
Since sulfur uses a combination of active ingredients, it works well in treating the cause of acne, which is excess oil and dead skin, as well as relieving inflammation. Inflammation can cause acne to flair and become worse.
Sulfur has an exfoliating effect on your skin, since it eliminates dead skin cells. Sulfur is also effective at killing acne-causing bacteria. Using sulfur helps clear current blackheads and whiteheads and will help prevent future breakouts, due to its exfoliating effect. Sulfur can cause some slight peeling.
Sulfur can take up to 12 weeks to see noticeable results, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians and HealthGuidance.org. Of course, you can see results faster, but on average, it is recommended to wait the full 12 weeks before deciding if sulfur is right for you.
Sulfur does not have a pleasant odor. HealthGuidance.org refers to sulfur as smelling similar to that of rotten eggs or the smell of a match once it has been lit. This is why sulfur is mixed with other ingredients that will help reduce its bad odor. As a precaution, the Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding products such as abrasive cleansers, medicated cosmetics, alcohol-containing preparations or other types of products that may cause your skin to become dry.
Side effects of sulfur can include itching, dry skin, peeling, a burning sensation and redness. According to HealthGuidance.org, some patients have reported discoloration of the skin. HealthGuidance.org recommends asking your dermatologist his recommendations on the correct dosage for your skin to avoid any skin irritation or discomfort.
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