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15 Derm-Approved Sulfur Skincare Products to Help Reduce Acne

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Photo by J_art/Getty Images

When you’re desperately seeking acne solutions, you can feel like a pseudo-chemist trying out the perfect combination of acids and clays that promise to make your acne woes a thing of the past. If that’s you, it's time to relax—because we’ve researched for you and checked in with a board-certified dermatologist to explore the latest skincare craze: sulfur. This ingredient might be trending, but it’s far from new. And while its reputation for a strong odor might make you find it less-than-desirable, it packs a big punch against clogged pores for smoother, less oily skin

“Sulfur has a well-established history for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties,” says Dr. Uchenna R. Okereke. It helps to address bacteria, reduce excess oil, and unclog pores that can cause acne and acne rosacea. Sulfur also possesses exfoliating properties, which make it useful in treating seborrheic dermatitis, or dandruff.”


About the Expert: 
Uchenna Okereke, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist in the greater Boston area.

KATE SOMERVILLE® EradiKate® Daily Foaming Cleanser

With this daily foaming cleanser, you can get clinical-strength treatment without a trip to the derm. Dr. Okereke recommends this cult classic, explaining, “It addresses excess oil and acne with 3% sulfur, honey, and rice bran extract, which helps calm and soothe skin, and natural oat extract, which helps absorb and balance sebum.”

2. Best Sulfur Skincare for Rosacea:

MUSELY The Red Set

MUSELY The Red Set
Courtesy of MUSELY

Users are raving about how this skincare duo (which includes the Rosacea Mask and the Rosacea Cream) helped heal their rosacea. Apply the Rosacea Mask first and reap the benefits of 3% sulfur to reduce inflammation and redness. The mask also tackles common rosacea concerns, including visible blood vessels, pustules, and blushing. Follow up with The Rosacea Cream, a soothing topical cream that helps reduce redness, flushing, and acne-like bumps.

3. Best Sulfur Skincare for Oily Skin:

HONEST Get Clarity Foaming Acne Cleanser

HONEST Get Clarity Foaming Acne Cleanser
Courtesy of HONEST

This foaming cleanser is tough on acne but gentle on your skin. We love that it’s packed with effective ingredients (like colloidal sulfur) to decongest pores and apple AHAs to gently exfoliate and increase cell turnover. An added bonus is that it’s made of clean ingredients you can feel good about.

4. Best Fast-Acting Sulfur Skincare:

MURAD Rapid Relief Sulfur Mask

MURAD Rapid Relief Sulfur Mask
Courtesy of MURAD

When they say Rapid Relief, they mean it. Dr. Okereke recommends this “triple active mask with 10% sulfur, salicylic acid, and Austrian peat to reduce oil and the appearance of whiteheads and blackheads.” Reviewers boast of seeing results in just three uses, and as an added bonus, this formula features a pleasant eucalyptus scent. 

Expert tip: If you’re wondering how often you should use sulfur skincare products in your routine, Dr. Okereke recommends, “Start low and go slow! Sulfur can dry the skin, so I typically recommend starting gradually with a cleanser or topical three times a week, then increasing as tolerated. And, of course, see your dermatologist if you need more guidance in selecting the best product for you.”

5. Best Sulfur Spot Treatment:

FACE REALITY Sulfur Spot Treatment

FACE REALITY Sulfur Spot Treatment
Courtesy of FACE REALITY

Ditch the toothpaste for your spot treatment and replace it with this effective, targeted treatment. With 6% sulfur, you get a potent yet gentle solution for inflamed breakouts. The solution is also invisible, so just cover it with SPF, and you’re ready for the day.

6. Best Three-in-One Sulfur Formula:

TULA SKINCARE Acne All Star 3-in-1 Acne Cleanser, Mask & Spot Treatment

TULA SKINCARE Acne All Star 3-in-1 Acne Cleanser, Mask & Spot Treatment

Experience all the benefits of a potent acne treatment without worrying about overdrying or damaging your skin barrier. Use it as a cleanser, spot treatment, or mask to purify and tone your skin. Reviewers call this product a holy grail and claim that it clears skin in no time.

7. Best Sulfur Skincare for Acne Prevention:

SUNDAY RILEY Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask

SUNDAY RILEY Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment

This medicated acne treatment contains 10% sulfur to clear up blemishes and target causes of future ones. It goes deep into your pores to dry pore-clogging sebum, while 4% niacinamide boosts skin’s radiance. Finally, it contains tea tree oil and manuka oil for a clearer complexion with each use.

8. Best Sulfur Skincare for Dark Spots:

URBAN SKIN RX Acne Blemish Mask

URBAN SKIN RX Acne Blemish Mask

One of the toughest things about acne blemishes, especially in dark skin, is that breakouts can lead to hyperpigmentation—whether or not you pick your scars. To help combat your breakouts and stave off those acne struggles, this 5% sulfur mask fights acne while treating it with gardenia flower extract, niacinamide, and salicylic acid for healthier-looking skin overall.

9. Best Invisible Sulfur Spot Treatment:

VICHY LABORATORIES Normaderm S.O.S Acne Rescue Spot Corrector

VICHY LABORATORIES Normaderm S.O.S Acne Rescue Spot Corrector
Courtesy of VICHY LABORATORIES

Dr. Orekeke recommends this formula because it contains “10% sulfur to control acne. It also packs two other great ingredients: glycolic acid to help smooth skin and niacinamide (a B3 vitamin), which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce moisture loss and dehydration. In one week, 96% of people saw a reduction in the number of their acne blemishes.” We also love that it absorbs quickly into the skin, making it ideal for day or night use.  

10. Best Sulfur Skincare for Eczema:

VERACITY Blemish Calming Cleanser

VERACITY Blemish Calming Cleanser
Courtesy of VERACITY

Treating acne when you have sensitive, eczema-prone skin can be difficult, but this calming cleanser tackles breakouts and uneven texture without compromising your delicate skin. This formula makes our list for its purifying and exfoliating ingredients, and it gets extra brownie points for its support in restoring your skin barrier too. 

11. Best Clarifying Sulfur Mask:

GOLDFADEN MD Facial Detox Clarify and Clear Mask

GOLDFADEN MD Facial Detox Clarify and Clear Mask

Penetrate the skin to pull out dirt and debris with this clarifying mask. It’s infused with a soothing blend of sulfur, zinc oxide, and camphor to minimize the look of pores without stripping your skin. After trying out the travel size, we couldn’t help but come back for the full size option. 

12. Best Sulfur Skincare for Blackheads:

DR. DENNIS GROSS DRx Blemish Solutions Clarifying Mask

DR. DENNIS GROSS DRx Blemish Solutions Clarifying Mask
Courtesy of DR. DENNIS GROSS

Not sure if you want an overnight mask or a spot treatment to keep blackheads at bay? This clarifying mask can act as both. As soon as we feel a zit coming, we reach for this, knowing that it has clinical-strength colloidal sulfur to neutralize bacteria and kaolin clay to reverse dullness. 

13. Best Sulfur Skincare With Retinol:

DERMEDICINE Retinol Detox High Potency Mask

DERMEDICINE Retinol Detox High Potency Mask
Courtesy of DERMEDICINE

We know that acne-prone skin can persist long after the teen years, so if you’re looking for anti-aging ingredients and blemish control all in one place, this maximum-strength retinol mask will do the trick. It deep cleans while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a more radiant complexion. 

14. Best Overnight Sulfur Treatment:

INN BEAUTY PROJECT Pimple Paste

INN BEAUTY PROJECT Pimple Paste

This alcohol-free pimple paste contains a host of heavy-hitting ingredients known to tackle blemishes, including willow bark, clay, tea tree oil, zinc oxide, and, of course, sulfur. Simply apply the blue paste wherever you see a blemish, and the transfer-proof formula works while you catch your Zzzs. 

15. Best Sulfur Body Treatment:

PETER THOMAS ROTH Therapeutic Sulfur Mask

PETER THOMAS ROTH Therapeutic Sulfur Mask
Courtesy of PETER THOMAS ROTH

The skin below your neck needs a little love, too! This clay and sulfur mask helps heal and prevent breakouts on the face and body while soothing your skin with aloe vera. We love that it feels so creamy and silky when applied, yet it also removes excess oil on the spot.

Interested in more clear-skin solutions? Check out adult acne: 8 reasons you’re still breaking out. Want in on all the IPSY fun? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own IPSY beauty subscription. Already an IPSY member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and TikTok @IPSY.

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About the author
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Kindra Moné
Kindra Moné is a writer and content creator who works with brands and magazines to create culturally relevant fashion and beauty content. She is also the founder of The Moné Edit: a community and podcast at the intersection of style and wellness.
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Article Last Updated April 10, 2024 12:00 AM