Sulfur is a chemical component that exists in all living tissues. After calcium and phosphorus, it is the third most plentiful mineral in the human body. Sulfur is likewise found in garlic, onions, and broccoli.

Sulfur is applied to the skin for dandruff and an itchy skin infection caused by mites (scabies). It is also applied to the skin for acne and skin redness (rosacea), and taken orally for lots of other conditions, but there is restricted clinical proof to support these usages. [2]



Being perfectly readily available in native kind, sulfur was understood in ancient times and is described in the torah (genesis). English translations of the christian bible frequently described burning sulfur as “brimstone”, triggering the term “fire-and-brimstone” preachings, in which listeners are reminded of the fate of eternal damnation that wait for the unbelieving and unrepentant. It is from this part of the bible that hell is indicated to “smell of sulfur” (likely due to its association with volcanic activity). According to the ebers papyrus, a sulfur ointment was used in ancient egypt to treat granular eyelids. Sulfur was used for fumigation in preclassical greece; this is pointed out in the odyssey. Pliny the elder goes over sulfur in book 35 of his natural history, saying that its best-known source is the island of melos. He mentions its usage for fumigation, medicine, and lightening cloth.

A natural form of sulfur referred to as shiliuhuang (石硫黄) was known in china given that the sixth century bc and discovered in hanzhong. By the 3rd century, the chinese had actually discovered that sulfur could be drawn out from pyrite. Chinese daoists had an interest in sulfur’s flammability and its reactivity with particular metals, yet its earliest practical usages were discovered in traditional chinese medicine. A song dynasty military writing of 1044 ad described various solutions for chinese black powder, which is a mixture of potassium nitrate (kno3), charcoal, and sulfur. It remains an active ingredient of black gunpowder.

Indian alchemists, specialists of the “science of chemicals” (sanskrit: रसशास्त्र, romanized: rasaśāstra), composed thoroughly about making use of sulfur in alchemical operations with mercury, from the eighth century ad onwards. In the rasaśāstra custom, sulfur is called “the stinky” (गन्धक, gandhaka).

Early european alchemists gave sulfur an unique alchemical sign, a triangle at the top of a cross (). The astrological symbol for 2 pallas, a crossed spear (⚴), has actually been published in various kinds, including one that looks like the sign for sulfur. In conventional skin treatment, elemental sulfur was utilized (generally in creams) to alleviate such conditions as scabies, ringworm, psoriasis, eczema, and acne. The.

System of action is unidentified– though elemental sulfur does oxidize slowly to sulfurous acid, which is (through the action of sulfite) a mild reducing and antibacterial representative.

Modern times

Right: today sulfur is known to have antifungal, antibacterial, and keratolytic activity; in the past it was utilized against acne vulgaris, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, pityriasis versicolor, scabies, and warts. This 1881 ad baselessly claims efficacy versus rheumatism, gout, baldness, and graying of hair.

Sulfur appears in a column of fixed (non-acidic) alkali in a chemical table of 1718. Antoine lavoisier used sulfur in combustion experiments, composing of a few of these in 1777.

Sulfur deposits in sicily were the dominant source for more than a century. By the late 18th century, about 2,000 tonnes per year of sulfur were imported into marseille, france, for the production of sulfuric acid for usage in the leblanc procedure. In industrializing britain, with the repeal of tariffs on salt in 1824, demand for sulfur from sicily surged upward. The increasing british control and exploitation of the mining, refining, and transport of the sulfur, paired with the failure of this rewarding export to transform sicily’s backward and impoverished economy, led to the sulfur crisis of 1840, when king ferdinand ii provided a monopoly of the sulfur industry to a french firm, breaching an earlier 1816 trade agreement with britain. A serene option was eventually negotiated by france.

In 1867, elemental sulfur was discovered in underground deposits in louisiana and texas. The extremely successful frasch process was established to extract this resource.

In the late 18th century, furniture makers used molten sulfur to produce ornamental inlays. Molten sulfur is often still used for setting steel bolts into drilled concrete holes where high shock resistance is desired for floor-mounted devices attachment points. Pure powdered sulfur was used as a medicinal tonic and laxative.

With the introduction of the contact procedure, most of sulfur today is utilized to make sulfuric acid for a wide range of uses, particularly fertilizer.

In recent times, the primary source of sulfur has ended up being petroleum and natural gas. This is because of the requirement to eliminate sulfur from fuels in order to prevent acid rain, and has actually led to a surplus of sulfur.

Spelling and etymology

Sulfur is stemmed from the latin word sulpur, which was hellenized to sulphur in the incorrect belief that the latin word originated from greek. This spelling was later reinterpreted as representing an/ f/ sound and led to the spelling sulfur, which appears in latin toward completion of the classical period. The true greek word for sulfur, θεῖον, is the source of the global chemical prefix thio-. In 12th-century anglo-french, it was sulfre. In the 14th century, the incorrectly hellenized latin -ph- was brought back in middle english sulphre. By the 15th century, both full latin spelling variations sulfur and sulphur became common in english. The parallel f ~ ph spellings continued in britain up until the 19th century, when the word was standardized as sulphur. On the other hand, sulfur was the type picked in the united states, whereas canada uses both. The iupac embraced the spelling sulfur in 1990 or 1971, depending on the source cited, as did the nomenclature committee of the royal society of chemistry in 1992, bring back the spelling sulfur to britain. Oxford dictionaries note that “in chemistry and other technical uses … The -f- spelling is now the basic type for this and related words in british as well as us contexts, and is progressively utilized in general contexts also. [3]

Physical residential or commercial properties of sulfur

Sulfur has an atomic weight of 32.066 grams per mole and becomes part of group 16, the oxygen family. It is a nonmetal and has a specific heat of 0.706 j g-1 oc-1. The electron affinity if 200 kj mol-1 and the electronegativity is 2.58 (unit less). Sulfur is generally discovered as a light-yellow, opaque, and breakable strong in big quantities of small orthorhombic crystals. Not just does sulfur have twice the density of water, it is likewise insoluble in water. On the other hand, sulfur is highly soluble in carbon disulfide and slightly soluble in many typical solvents. Sulfur can also differ in color and blackens upon boiling due to carbonaceous pollutants. Even as low as 0.05% of carbonaceous matter darkens sulfur significantly.

A lot of sulfur is recuperated straight as the aspect from underground deposits by injecting super-heated water and piping out molten sulfur (sulfur melts at 112o c). Compared to other aspects, sulfur has the most allotropes. While the s8 ring is the most common allotrope, there are 6 other structures with up to 20 sulfur atoms per ring.

  • Under appropriate conditions, sulfur vapor can contain \( s \), \( s_2 \), \( s_4 \), \( s_6 \), and \( s_8 \).
  • At space temperature, rhombic sulfur (sα) is a steady solid consisted of cyclic \( s_8 \) molecules.
  • At 95.5 ° c, rhombic sulfur ends up being monoclinic sulfur (sβ). The crystal structure found in monoclinic sulfur differs from that of rhombic sulfur. Monoclinic sulfur is also comprised of \( s_8 \) molecules.
  • Monoclinic sulfur becomes liquid sulfur (sλ) at 119 ° c. Liquid sulfur is straw-colored liquid made up of \( s_8 \) molecules and other cyclic molecules including a variety of six to twenty atoms.
  • At 160 oc, this ends up being a dark, viscous liquid called liquid sulfur (sμ). The molecules are still comprised of eight sulfur atoms but the molecule opens up and changes from a circle into a long spiral-chain molecule.
  • At 180 ° c, the chain length and viscosity reach their maximum. Chains break and viscosity reduces at temperatures that surpass 180 ° c.
  • Sulfur vapor is produced when liquid boils at 445 ° c. In the vapor that is produced, \( s_8 \) molecules control however as the vapor continues to heat up, the molecules break up into smaller groups of sulfur.
  • To produce plastic sulfur, sis poured into cold water. Plastic sulfur is rubberlike and is made up of long, spiral-chain molecules. If plastic sulfur sits for long, it will reconvert to rhombic sulfur. [4]

Mechanism of action

Sulfur functions as a keratolytic agent and also it has anti-bacterial activity. It also kills fungis, scabies termites and other parasites. Sped up sulfur and colloidal sulfur are used, in kind of creams, creams, powders,.

Soaps, and bath ingredients, for the treatment of acne vulgaris, acne rosacea, and seborrhoeic dermatitis. [5]

Foods and beverages rich in sulfur

Sulfur is discovered in a large range of foods. The most significant classifications include.

  • Meat and poultry: especially beef, ham, chicken, duck, turkey, and organ meats like heart and liver
  • Fish and seafood: most types of fish, along with shrimp, scallops, mussels, and prawns
  • Legumes: especially soybeans, black beans, kidney beans, split peas, and white beans
  • Nuts and seeds: specifically almonds, brazil nuts, peanuts, walnuts, and pumpkin and sesame seeds
  • Eggs and dairy: whole eggs, cheddar, parmesan and gorgonzola cheese, and cow’s milk
  • Dried fruit: specifically dried peaches, apricots, sultanas, and figs
  • Specific veggies: particularly asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, red cabbage, leeks, onion, radishes, turnip tops, and watercress
  • Certain grains: especially pearl barley, oats, wheat, and flour made from these grains
  • Particular drinks: especially beer, cider, red wine, coconut milk, and grape and tomato juice
  • Condiments and spices: particularly horseradish, mustard, marmite, curry powder, and ground ginger

Drinking water can also include significant quantities of sulfur depending on where you live. This may be especially real if you source your water from a well.

Moreover, sulfites– a food preservative derived from sulfur– are frequently contributed to packaged foods like jams, pickles, and dried fruit to extend their service life. Sulfites can also develop naturally in fermented foods and drinks consisting of beer, wine, and cider.


Sulfur is naturally found in a range of foods and beverages. Sulfur-derived sulfite is another kind of sulfur frequently added to some packaged foods. [6]

Uses of sulfur

Supplement usage need to be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a signed up dietitian, pharmacist, or doctor. No supplement is intended to treat, treat, or prevent an illness.

Sulfur plays a crucial role in the body. It is required for the production of crucial proteins and the foundation of those proteins, which are known as amino acids. For example, sulfur is needed for the synthesis, or production, of the amino acids cysteine and methionine. These amino acids become part of an effective antioxidant called glutathione.

Although there is little research available on sulfur, there are few circumstances in which sulfur supplements may be helpful.

What is an anti-oxidant?

Antioxidants are substances in your body that can avoid cell damage, so they protect you versus various kinds of diseases and health problems.

Joint and muscle discomfort

Sulfur is part of traditional treatments utilized all over the world for a variety of disorders.


Msm, a naturally occurring sulfur compound discovered in many foods, may assist those with different osteoarthritis types.

It is suggested that msm supplements might work as an anti-inflammatory that could potentially safeguard cartilage. For those with arthritis, the result may be less discomfort and a much better range of motion in the joints. However, research study in this area is minimal and combined.

A couple of research studies have shown improvements in pain and physical function when supplementing with msm. An early pilot trial randomized 50 people with knee osteoarthritis (oa) to receive 3 grams msm twice daily or placebo for 12 weeks. Those that got the msm supplement reported enhanced discomfort symptoms and physical function. However, the benefit and security of msm for this usage and its long-lasting application can’t be verified.

An additional study found comparable outcomes when they randomized 49 individuals with knee oa to get 1.125 grams msm 3 times daily versus placebo for 12 weeks. The authors noted that the improvement in pain and physical function with msm was small and the research study did not identify if it was a scientifically substantial change.

Another study examined a supplement which contained msm in combination with numerous other active ingredients (glucosamine sulfate, white will bark extract, ginger root concentrate, boswella serrata extract, turmeric root extract, cayenne, and hyaluronic acid). One hundred people with a history of joint discomfort were randomized to get the supplement or placebo for eight weeks. While those who took the supplement reported decreased joint discomfort, there was no impact on markers of inflammation or enhancement on a six-minute walk test.

A different meta-analysis found that neither dmso nor msm was effective in minimizing discomfort from oa. It ought to be kept in mind that this meta-analysis was performed in 2009 and did not include 2 of the studies pointed out previously.

Further research is still needed to determine the advantages of supplementing sulfur, what the proper dosage should be, and whether it is much better to supplement sulfur by itself or in a mix with other components.


Balneotherapy is an alternative therapy that’s been utilized for centuries to alleviate joint and muscle pain. Balneotherapy involves bathing swollen or stressed out joints and muscles in hot springs and water which contains sulfur together with other abundant minerals.

Research is blended relating to the efficiency of balneotherapy. It’s been thought to minimize pain and improve the quality of life for those with osteoarthritis. However, a 2015 study evaluation found there wasn’t adequate evidence to show it aided with signs of rheumatoid arthritis.

The bottom line on balneotherapy: it can be used in addition to other treatments to decrease low-grade swelling and stress-related discomfort or tightness. Nevertheless, it is still advised to get treatment from a doctor to alleviate the signs of your condition more effectively.

Allergic reactions

As an anti-inflammatory, msm appears to lower the swelling activated by abnormal immune responses, which impacts individuals who have allergies to food or ecological elements.

In a randomized, double-blind research study, researchers revealed that msm substantially reduced allergy symptoms. Taking 3 grams of msm daily for two weeks helped those with allergic reactions breathe much better and lowered their nasal congestion. More research study is needed.


Dandruff is a skin condition on the scalp that triggers itching, flaking skin, and possible redness and inflammation. Sulfur is approved by the fda (fda) for use in over the counter dandruff products that often consist of salicylic acid.

Little research study has actually been done since a little 1987 study of people with dandruff. That research study suggested that when people used hair shampoo containing sulfur and salicylic acid, they reported less scaling and dandruff. Further studies would assist to assess the efficiency of sulfur for dandruff.


Rosacea is a skin problem that looks like adult acne however is very various. It triggers red, inflamed locations on the face, red bumps, and an augmentation of the nose.

Combination sulfur solutions consisting of 10% sodium sulfacetamide and 5% sulfur have been revealed to considerably lower soreness and lesions triggered by rosacea. These topical formulas, meaning creams or creams applied to the skin, likewise seem to have couple of adverse effects. Nevertheless, some individuals are hypersensitive to sulfur products.

Interstitial cystitis

Interstitial cystitis (ic) is chronic bladder swelling. The fda has actually approved dmso for the treatment of ic. It becomes part of a liquid option that is inserted into the bladder. This needs a health care professional. Anesthesia is usually needed for the treatment.

Additional claims

A lot of other claims about sulfur do not have the research study to support them. It has not been revealed to help with menopause symptoms, enhance nails, or deal with persistent obstructive lung illness (copd), hyperlipidemia, or fight cancer. [7]

Advantages of sulfur for skin

A few of the characteristics of sulfur that make it excellent as an acne treatment (for instance, its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties) are also practical for dealing with an array of other skin issues.

Dries out acnes: according to shah, sulfur lowers sebum (oil) on the skin. When applied to the imperfection, sulfur works to dry out the skin so it can then be sloughed away.

Promotes exfoliation: sulfur works to exfoliate dead skin and eliminate pollutants: shah says that sulfur has a keratolytic impact (implying it works to soften and thin the skin), which assists eliminate dead skin cells and avoid blocked pores.

Fights bacteria: sulfur has anti-bacterial homes, and, according to cheung, sulfur is a dermatologist-favorite because it eliminates bacteria, fungi, and various parasites.

Treats sensitive skin conditions: cheung states because sulfur is anti-inflammatory and assists to soften and exfoliate thick, dead skin, it’s typically used to treat acne, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff. Shah includes that it’s likewise known to treat eczema and rosacea. [8]

How to use sulfur for skin?

Sulfur is offered in a wide array of skin care products, as well as targeted acne treatments.

Individuals who wish to utilize sulfur on their skin can pick from:.

  • Cleansers
  • Creams
  • Exfoliants
  • Face washes and foams
  • Lotions
  • Face masks
  • Soaps
  • Spot treatments

Sulfur items are available otc or with a prescription. They might consist of additional active ingredients, such as resorcinol or sodium sulfacetamide.

Individuals can utilize sulfur treatments alone or alongside other acne treatments. Frequently, using a combination of treatments can assist acne heal much faster.

For instance, people could utilize an otc sulfur face mask once a week and a benzoyl peroxide wash every day. Alternatively, a dermatologist may prescribe a topical retinoid for nighttime usage and a sulfur-based cleanser for morning usage.

Carrying out a patch test

People must always carry out a patch test prior to utilizing any new item on their skin. They can do this by applying a percentage of the product to the within the arm and waiting 24 hours to keep track of for negative effects.

If no reaction happens, it is most likely safe to apply the item to the face or other parts of the body. If side effects develop, it is recommended to cease making use of the item. [9]

Sulfur topical side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have indications of an allergic reaction: hives; hard breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Sulfur topical may trigger major side effects. Call your physician at once if you have:.

  • Extreme burning, inflammation, or swelling where the medicine was applied;
  • Severe dryness or peeling of treated skin; or
  • New or getting worse skin signs.

Typical adverse effects of sulfur topical may include:.

  • Moderate burning, tingling, stinging, itching, or inflammation;
  • Peeling, dryness; or
  • Oily skin.

This is not a complete list of negative effects and others may occur. Call your medical professional for medical suggestions about negative effects. [10]


The dosage of this medicine will be different for various patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the instructions on the label. The following information consists of only the typical dosages of this medicine. If your dosage is different, do not alter it unless your medical professional tells you to do so.

The amount of medication that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the variety of dosages you take every day, the time permitted in between dosages, and the length of time you take the medicine depend upon the medical problem for which you are utilizing the medication.

For acne:

For cream and bar soap dosage kinds:

Adults and children– utilize on the skin as needed.

For cream dosage kind:

Adults and children– use two or three times a day.

For ointment dose form:

Adults and children– use the 0.5% ointment on the skin as needed.

For seborrheic dermatitis:

For ointment dosage form:

Grownups and kids– utilize the 5 to 10% lotion one or two times a day.

For scabies:

For lotion dosage type:

Adults and children– utilize the 6% lotion each night for 3 nights.

Missed dose

If you miss a dosage of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is nearly time for your next dosage, avoid the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses. [11]

Unique safety measures and cautions

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: sulfur is perhaps safe when applied to the skin appropriately, short-term. Products consisting of sulfur in concentrations as much as 6% have actually been applied securely nightly for up to 6 nights.

Children: sulfur is potentially safe when applied to the skin appropriately, short-term. Products containing sulfur in concentrations up to 6% have actually been utilized safely when applied nightly in kids and teenagers for approximately 6 nights. Products including sulfur in concentrations as much as 2% have actually been utilized safely when made an application for 3 hours daily for up to 6 days in babies.

Sulfa allergy: it is frequently believed that individuals who dislike sulfa drugs might be allergic to sulfur consisting of products. This is not real. People with an allergy to “sulfa” react to the sulfonamide in some prescription antibiotics and related drugs. They do not respond to elemental sulfur. [12]


In this paper we have provided the diversity and circulation of genes associated with sulfur oxidation in 75 strains of thioalkalivibrio, a group of haloalkaliphilic and chemolithoautotrophic sob from soda lakes. We have actually shown that flavocytochrome c, the truncated sox system (soxaxyzb) and sulfite: quinone oxidoreductase (soeabc) exist in all strains. The pathway from essential sulfur to sulfite is presently not resolved for all thioalkalivibrio, as just 6 genomes encode the dissimilatory sulfite reductase system. The hdr-like operon is a great candidate for sulfur oxidation, although the release of sulfite from this enzyme system has yet to be shown. It is found in all dsr-negative pressures and the genomes of four pressures consist of both, although the physiological consequences of this are unknown.

Hierarchical clustering showed that the sulfur gene collection of private pressures associates well with genomic groups previously defined by anib analysis. Phylogenetic analysis of soxb, fccb, and soea amino acid sequences declares the complicated evolutionary history of thioalkalivibrio that was reported in previous analyses of 16s rrna and cbbl sequences. Genomic contexts of genes present in numerous copies reveal that there is normally one genotype with series from all pressures and one or more genotypes additional copies that were most likely obtained through hgt.

There are a variety of significant unsettled questions concerning the sulfur metabolic process of thioalkalivibrio, most significantly the oxidation of essential sulfur as mentioned above. The in vivo function of the fad-dependent oxidoreductases that form a sis group to type ii sqr series offers another avenue for additional research. [13]


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