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How Sulfur Can Help Heatproof Your Skin, From A Dermatologist

Hannah Frye
Author:
July 07, 2023
Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
By Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
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Image by Ohlamour Studio / Stocksy
July 07, 2023
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Your warm weather skin care routine probably looks a bit different from your winter lineup. You may prioritize lighter formulas, cleanse more often, or ramp up the antioxidants. But are you doing anything to heatproof your skin? Below, find out exactly what this means and a simple trick.

How sulfur can help heatproof your skin

When your skin is exposed to high temperatures, your chances of sporting an oily complexion, triggering breakouts, and constant flushing go way up. 

The secret: Find a product with sulfur in it. Board-certified dermatologist Shereene Idriss, M.D., FAAD (aka the "Pillowtalk Derm"), recently reviewed the benefits of this buzzy ingredient in a TikTok video—according to Idriss, the single ingredient can help protect your skin from those negative impacts that come with heat exposure.

"Sulfur acne treatments are the treatments you didn't know you needed, especially if you have oily skin," she says. But there's more to those benefits than meets the eye, even for non-breakout-prone skin types: 

  • It's antimicrobial: "It has antimicrobial properties1, so it's going to kill the bacteria on your skin that can cause those cystic, juicy pimples," she explains. 
  • It's exfoliating: "It offers gentle exfoliation, so it acts like a comedolytic; meaning, if you have a lot of little blackheads or whiteheads, it can break them up and get rid of them from the bottom out," Idriss says. 
  • It regulates sebum production: "It's going to regulate how you make oil on your skin," she says, which is ideal for anyone prone to an oily T-zone during warmer months.
  • It has anti-inflammatory effects: "If you have rosacea, it can help reduce the look of redness," Idriss explains. 

In this specific video, Idriss praises the De La Cruz Sulfur Ointment, but FYI, that product does contain polyethylene glycols (PEGs), or synthetic petrochemicals—which some folks may try to avoid for sustainability and skin health reasons

If you want to reap the benefits of topical sulfur without the PEGs, perhaps opt for the Versed Game Over Acne Drying Treatment or the Veracity Blemish Clearing Cleanser

Those with skin on the drier side may want to use sulfur treatments less often, as the ingredient can make the skin appear even more dry. Or you can simply use it as a spot treatment for the occasional oily or inflamed spot. 

As always, be sure to patch test the ingredient behind your ear or on your arm to ensure you don't have an allergic reaction.

The takeaway

You can minimize the negative impacts of heat on the skin by using sulfur in your skin care routine. This ingredient can help eliminate acne-causing bacteria, exfoliate the skin, balance oil production, and reduce inflammation. For even more tips on treating textured skin, check out this guide. Spoiler: Sulfur isn't the only skin-balancing hero! 

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