Sulfur makes me think of chemistry class and rotten eggs. Noxious fumes aside, pure sulfur has no smell — and has huge benefits. The nonmetallic element is one of the most effective remedies for acne, skin-softening, and improving transdermal antioxidant levels.
How does sulfur work on acne?
The keratolytic and antibacterial properties in sulfur work to eliminate the bacteria and dead skin cells combo that clogs up the pores, attacking the problem that causes acne at its root. Since sulfur has a tendency to dry the skin, use it sparingly. Dry skin can stimulate more oil secretion, further complicating the problem you're trying to address.
The best and most effective way to use sulfur is as a spot treatment. By simply applying small amounts of the sulfur product to pimples, you eliminate most of the risk associated with using this type of acne treatment.
A DIY sulfur spot treatment
- Mix the three ingredients into a paste and apply it to your face as a mask or spot treatment.
- Let sit for 10 to 20 minutes and then rinse.
- Mist a rose hydrosol over skin.
Sulfur is abundantly found in our bodies. It is present in each and every cell, but the greatest concentration is found in skin, hair, and nails. It also plays an important role in various processes: synthesizing vitamin B1, detoxing, regulating blood sugar. For skin, sulfur is a great boon due to its aforementioned keratolytic action that makes your epidermis smooth and silky.
Sulfur is needed by the body to produce collagen, the substance that keeps the skin elastic, young, and healthy. It's also used topically for psoriasis, acne, eczema, and dandruff — as a natural skin-sloughing agent, sulfur helps to get rid of dead skin cells and make way for new skin.
Sulfur baths for pain
Sulfur is a naturally occurring mineral that is found mostly near hot springs and volcanic craters. As a supplement, sulfur is available in two forms: dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). About 15 percent of DMSO breaks down into MSM in the body. Both have been touted as treatments for pain.
MSM occurs naturally in some plants (like horsetail), fruits, vegetables, some grains, and milk. MSM is important in joint health and helps form the connective tissues including cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. It may also reduce pain by slowing the nerve impulses that transmit pain signals.
DMSO is a chemical by-product of papermaking and is used as an industrial solvent, as well as for medicine. The FDA has approved DMSO for intravesical use (in the urinary bladder), and it's also used in muscle-relaxing creams and taken orally for pain. Unlike MSM, DMSO is absorbed through the skin.
Mud baths containing sulfur, often called balneotherapy, can help treat skin disorders and arthritis. Balneotherapy is one of the oldest forms of pain relief for people with arthritis. The term balneo comes from the Latin word for bath and means "soaking in thermal or mineral waters." In my mind, there's nothing a hot bath doesn't cure, so I'm more than happy to put all my eggs in one beauty basket this winter!
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