Funny smell, seriously dramatic results. If you have yet to incorporate sulfur-infused acne products into your regime, you're going to want to get acquainted with the variety of masks, serums, and spot treatments that include the hero ingredient. "Sulfur is one of the best active ingredients to clear acne breakouts due to its natural anti-bacterial properties," explains esthetician Emme Diane. "It has the ability to draw out impurities from the skin, including excess oil, and helps to cleanse the pores and clarify skin." Since sulfur is also anti-inflammatory, sensitive skin types (including complexions with rosacea) won't be further irritated. You won't have to swap out anything in your existing product lineup, though be wary if you already use a ton of active acne-fighting ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Too many aggressive treatments can lead to dry skin, and as a result, rebound breakouts—yes, they're a thing...
And as for that smell? "It's like cilantro or gasoline in the sense that people either love it or hate it. There's no in between. Most sulfur preparations are nowhere near as pungent as they used to be, but a sensitive nose will always notice it," Diane adds. "Cleansing the skin after using a sulfur mask should remove most of the smell." Spot treatments and serums can be rinsed off the morning after, and if you still catch a whiff, try following up with a toner. We compiled a list of the best sulfur-infused products that can calm breakouts of any intensity level. Keep reading to shop each one now.
2. Murad Acne Spot Treatment
Use over particularly stubborn pimples to reduce their size and intensity, or apply a thin layer all over when your skin is having a pre-moon cycle moment.
Murad | $18
3. Dr. Dennis Gross Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask
Consider this mask to be a time-release pore strip—apply a layer before bed at night, and while you sleep, ingredients like sulfur, willow bark extract, and kaolin clay slowly draw anything jammed in your pores to the surface, all of which can be completely washed away in the morning.
Dr. Dennis Gross | $42
4. Kate Somerville EradiKate To-Go Acne Treatment
They function in a similar way to those makeup cleansing swabs, but boast more benefits for your complexion than your smoky eye. Snap the lined end in half to release the sulfur and alpha hydroxy acid-rich formula into the bottom end, then apply the treatment directly over a pimple so that it dries out overnight.
Kate Somerville | $22
5. Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Masque
The generous amount of zinc and sulfur ensures the quick disappearance of existing breakouts, while the infusion of aloe keeps your complexion hydrated.
Peter Thomas Roth | $47