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Sulfur is a chemical component that is present in all living tissues. After calcium and phosphorus, it is the 3rd most plentiful mineral in the body. Sulfur is likewise found in garlic, onions, and broccoli.

Sulfur is applied to the skin for dandruff and an itchy skin infection triggered by mites (scabies). It is also applied to the skin for acne and skin redness (rosacea), and taken orally for many other conditions, however there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses. [2]



Being generously readily available in native kind, sulfur was understood in ancient times and is referred to in the torah (genesis). English translations of the christian bible frequently described burning sulfur as “brimstone”, triggering the term “fire-and-brimstone” sermons, in which listeners are advised of the fate of eternal damnation that await the unbelieving and unrepentant. It is from this part of the bible that hell is suggested to “give off 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 utilized for fumigation in preclassical greece; this is pointed out in the odyssey. Pliny the older talks about sulfur in book 35 of his nature, saying that its best-known source is the island of melos. He mentions its use for fumigation, medication, and bleaching fabric.

A natural kind of sulfur called shiliuhuang (石硫黄) was understood in china since the sixth century bc and discovered in hanzhong. By the 3rd century, the chinese had actually discovered that sulfur could be extracted 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 treatise of 1044 advertisement described different 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, practitioners of the “science of chemicals” (sanskrit: रसशास्त्र, romanized: rasaśāstra), wrote thoroughly about the use of sulfur in alchemical operations with mercury, from the eighth century advertisement onwards. In the rasaśāstra tradition, sulfur is called “the stinky” (गन्धक, gandhaka).

Early european alchemists provided sulfur a distinct alchemical sign, a triangle at the top of a cross (). The astrological sign for 2 pallas, a crossed spear (⚴), has been published in different forms, including one that appears like the symbol for sulfur. In conventional skin treatment, essential sulfur was utilized (primarily in creams) to ease such conditions as scabies, ringworm, psoriasis, eczema, and acne. The.

System of action is unknown– though elemental sulfur does oxidize gradually to sulfurous acid, which is (through the action of sulfite) a mild reducing and anti-bacterial agent.

Modern times

Right: today sulfur is known to have antifungal, antibacterial, and keratolytic activity; in the past it was utilized versus acne vulgaris, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, pityriasis versicolor, scabies, and warts. This 1881 ad baselessly declares effectiveness 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 utilized sulfur in combustion experiments, composing of some 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 annually of sulfur were imported into marseille, france, for the production of sulfuric acid for usage in the leblanc process. In industrializing britain, with the repeal of tariffs on salt in 1824, need for sulfur from sicily rose up. The increasing british control and exploitation of the mining, refining, and transport of the sulfur, coupled with the failure of this rewarding export to transform sicily’s backwards 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 solution was ultimately worked out by france.

In 1867, essential sulfur was discovered in underground deposits in louisiana and texas. The extremely effective frasch procedure 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 utilized for setting steel bolts into drilled concrete holes where high shock resistance is wanted for floor-mounted devices accessory points. Pure powdered sulfur was utilized as a medicinal tonic and laxative.

With the development of the contact process, the majority of sulfur today is utilized to make sulfuric acid for a vast array of uses, particularly fertilizer.

In current times, the primary source of sulfur has actually ended up being petroleum and gas. This is because of the requirement to get rid of sulfur from fuels in order to avoid acid rain, and has resulted in a surplus of sulfur.

Spelling and etymology

Sulfur is originated from the latin word sulpur, which was hellenized to sulphur in the incorrect belief that the latin word came from greek. This spelling was later on reinterpreted as representing an/ f/ sound and resulted in the spelling sulfur, which appears in latin towards the end of the classical period. The true greek word for sulfur, θεῖον, is the source of the international chemical prefix thio-. In 12th-century anglo-french, it was sulfre. In the 14th century, the incorrectly hellenized latin -ph- was restored in middle english sulphre. By the 15th century, both full latin spelling versions sulfur and sulphur became typical in english. The parallel f ~ ph spellings continued in britain until the 19th century, when the word was standardized as sulphur. On the other hand, sulfur was the type selected in the united states, whereas canada utilizes both. The iupac adopted the spelling sulfur in 1990 or 1971, depending upon the source pointed out, as did the classification 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 form for this and related words in british in addition to us contexts, and is progressively used in general contexts as well. [3]

Physical properties of sulfur

Sulfur has an atomic weight of 32.066 grams per mole and belongs to 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 typically discovered as a light-yellow, opaque, and breakable strong in large amounts of small orthorhombic crystals. Not only does sulfur have twice the density of water, it is likewise insoluble in water. On the other hand, sulfur is extremely soluble in carbon disulfide and a little soluble in lots of common solvents. Sulfur can likewise vary in color and blackens upon boiling due to carbonaceous impurities. Even just 0.05% of carbonaceous matter darkens sulfur substantially.

Most sulfur is recovered directly as the element from underground deposits by injecting super-heated water and piping out molten sulfur (sulfur melts at 112o c). Compared to other elements, 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 include \( s \), \( s_2 \), \( s_4 \), \( s_6 \), and \( s_8 \).
  • At room temperature level, 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 likewise made up of \( s_8 \) molecules.
  • Monoclinic sulfur becomes liquid sulfur (sλ) at 119 ° c. Liquid sulfur is straw-colored liquid made up of \( s_8 \) particles and other cyclic molecules containing a variety of six to twenty atoms.
  • At 160 oc, this ends up being a dark, viscous liquid called liquid sulfur (sμ). The particles are still comprised of 8 sulfur atoms however the molecule opens up and changes from a circle into a long spiral-chain particle.
  • At 180 ° c, the chain length and viscosity reach their optimum. Chains break and viscosity decreases at temperature levels that exceed 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 warm 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 particles. If plastic sulfur sits for long, it will reconvert to rhombic sulfur. [4]

System of action

Sulfur acts as a keratolytic representative and likewise it has anti-bacterial activity. It also kills fungis, scabies mites and other parasites. Precipitated sulfur and colloidal sulfur are utilized, in type of creams, creams, powders,.

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

Foods and drinks abundant in sulfur

Sulfur is discovered in a large variety of foods. The biggest classifications include.

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

Drinking water can also contain substantial amounts of sulfur depending upon where you live. This may be especially real if you source your water from a well.

Moreover, sulfites– a food preservative originated from sulfur– are frequently added to packaged foods like jams, pickles, and dried fruit to extend their life span. Sulfites can also develop naturally in fermented foods and drinks including beer, white wine, and cider.


Sulfur is naturally discovered in a range of foods and beverages. Sulfur-derived sulfite is another form of sulfur typically added to some packaged foods. [6]

Uses of sulfur

Supplement use need to be embellished and vetted by a health care professional, such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or doctor. No supplement is planned to deal with, treat, or prevent a disease.

Sulfur plays a crucial role in the body. It is essential for the production of essential proteins and the foundation of those proteins, which are referred to as amino acids. For example, sulfur is required for the synthesis, or development, of the amino acids cysteine and methionine. These amino acids are part of a powerful antioxidant referred to as glutathione.

Although there is little research study offered on sulfur, there are couple of instances in which sulfur supplementation may be useful.

What is an antioxidant?

Anti-oxidants are compounds in your body that can prevent cell damage, so they defend you versus different types of diseases and diseases.

Joint and muscle discomfort

Sulfur belongs to conventional treatments used around the world for a variety of disorders.


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

It is suggested that msm supplements may work as an anti-inflammatory that could perhaps secure cartilage. For those with arthritis, the result might be less pain and a much better variety of motion in the joints. Nevertheless, research study in this area is minimal and mixed.

A few studies have shown improvements in pain and physical function when supplementing with msm. An early pilot trial randomized 50 individuals with knee osteoarthritis (oa) to get 3 grams msm two times everyday or placebo for 12 weeks. Those that received the msm supplement reported enhanced pain signs and physical function. However, the benefit and safety of msm for this usage and its long-lasting application can’t be confirmed.

An additional study found similar results when they randomized 49 individuals with knee oa to receive 1.125 grams msm 3 times everyday versus placebo for 12 weeks. The authors noted that the enhancement in pain and physical function with msm was little and the research study did not determine if it was a clinically substantial modification.

Another research study examined a supplement which contained msm in mix with numerous other 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 pain were randomized to receive the supplement or placebo for 8 weeks. While those who took the supplement reported lowered joint pain, there was no impact on markers of inflammation or improvement on a six-minute walk test.

A separate meta-analysis found that neither dmso nor msm worked in decreasing pain from oa. It should be kept in mind that this meta-analysis was performed in 2009 and did not include two of the research studies discussed earlier.

Further research study is still required to figure out the advantages of supplementing sulfur, what the suitable dose should be, and whether it is better to supplement sulfur by itself or in a combination with other components.


Balneotherapy is an alternative treatment that’s been utilized for centuries to eliminate joint and muscle pain. Balneotherapy includes bathing irritated or stressed joints and muscles in warm springs and water which contains sulfur in addition to other rich minerals.

Research study is mixed relating to the effectiveness of balneotherapy. It’s been believed to reduce discomfort and improve the lifestyle for those with osteoarthritis. Nevertheless, a 2015 study evaluation found there wasn’t sufficient proof to reveal it helped with signs of rheumatoid arthritis.

The bottom line on balneotherapy: it can be utilized together with other treatments to lower low-grade inflammation and stress-related pain or tightness. However, it is still suggested to get treatment from a healthcare provider to eliminate the signs of your condition better.

Allergic reactions

As an anti-inflammatory, msm seems to reduce the swelling activated by abnormal immune responses, which affects individuals who have allergies to food or ecological factors.

In a randomized, double-blind study, researchers revealed that msm significantly alleviated allergy signs. Taking 3 grams of msm daily for two weeks helped those with allergic reactions breathe much better and minimized their nasal blockage. More research study is needed.


Dandruff is a skin condition on the scalp that triggers itching, flaking skin, and possible soreness and inflammation. Sulfur is approved by the food and drug administration (fda) for usage in over-the-counter dandruff items that often consist of salicylic acid.

Little research study has actually been done considering that a small 1987 research study of individuals with dandruff. That study showed that when people utilized shampoo containing sulfur and salicylic acid, they reported less scaling and dandruff. Further studies would help to evaluate the efficiency of sulfur for dandruff.


Rosacea is a skin condition that appears like adult acne however is really different. It triggers red, inflamed locations on the face, red bumps, and an augmentation of the nose.

Mix sulfur solutions including 10% sodium sulfacetamide and 5% sulfur have been revealed to significantly decrease soreness and lesions triggered by rosacea. These topical solutions, indicating creams or creams applied to the skin, also seem to have few negative effects. However, some people are hypersensitive to sulfur products.

Interstitial cystitis

Interstitial cystitis (ic) is chronic bladder inflammation. 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 specialist. Anesthesia is normally required for the procedure.

Extra claims

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

Advantages of sulfur for skin

A few of the characteristics of sulfur that make it terrific as an acne treatment (for example, its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial homes) are likewise useful for dealing with a selection of other skin concerns.

Dries out imperfections: 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 get rid of impurities: shah states that sulfur has a keratolytic impact (implying it works to soften and thin the epidermis), which helps remove dead skin cells and avoid stopped up pores.

Fights germs: sulfur has antibacterial homes, and, according to cheung, sulfur is a dermatologist-favorite due to the fact that it eliminates germs, fungi, and numerous parasites.

Deals with sensitive skin conditions: cheung states since sulfur is anti-inflammatory and helps to soften and exfoliate thick, dead skin, it’s frequently utilized to deal with acne, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff. Shah includes that it’s likewise known to deal with eczema and rosacea. [8]

How to utilize sulfur for skin?

Sulfur is readily available in a wide range of skin care products, as well as targeted acne treatments.

People who want to utilize sulfur on their skin can choose from:.

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

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

Individuals can use sulfur treatments alone or together with other acne treatments. Often, utilizing a mix of treatments can assist acne heal faster.

For instance, people might utilize an otc sulfur face mask when a week and a benzoyl peroxide wash each day. Additionally, a skin doctor may prescribe a topical retinoid for nighttime use and a sulfur-based cleanser for early morning use.

Carrying out a patch test

Individuals should always carry out a patch test before using any new item on their skin. They can do this by using a small amount of the product to the within the arm and waiting 24 hr to keep an eye on for negative effects.

If no response happens, it is likely safe to apply the product to the face or other parts of the body. If adverse effects establish, it is advisable to stop making use of the item. [9]

Sulfur topical side effects

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

Sulfur topical may trigger serious side effects. Call your medical professional at the same time if you have:.

  • Serious burning, inflammation, or swelling where the medicine was used;
  • Severe dryness or peeling of treated skin; or
  • New or intensifying skin symptoms.

Common adverse effects of sulfur topical might include:.

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

This is not a total list of side effects and others may happen. Call your physician for medical guidance about side effects. [10]


The dosage of this medication will be different for various patients. Follow your physician’s orders or the instructions on the label. The following details consists of just the typical doses of this medicine. If your dose is various, do not alter it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

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

For acne:

For cream and bar soap dose types:

Grownups and kids– use on the skin as required.

For lotion dose kind:

Grownups and children– utilize two or three times a day.

For ointment dose form:

Adults and kids– use the 0.5% ointment on the skin as required.

For seborrheic dermatitis:

For ointment dosage kind:

Grownups and children– utilize the 5 to 10% lotion a couple of times a day.

For scabies:

For lotion dose form:

Adults and kids– utilize the 6% ointment each night for 3 nights.

Missed dosage

If you miss out on a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. Nevertheless, if it is nearly time for your next dosage, avoid the missed dose and go back to your routine 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 properly, short-term. Products consisting of sulfur in concentrations approximately 6% have actually been applied securely nighttime for up to 6 nights.

Children: sulfur is perhaps safe when applied to the skin properly, short-term. Products consisting of sulfur in concentrations as much as 6% have actually been utilized securely when applied nighttime in children and adolescents for up to 6 nights. Products including sulfur in concentrations up to 2% have been used securely when obtained 3 hours daily for up to 6 days in babies.

Sulfa allergy: it is typically thought that people who dislike sulfa drugs might be allergic to sulfur including products. This is not real. Individuals with an allergy to “sulfa” respond to the sulfonamide in some antibiotics and associated drugs. They do not react to essential sulfur. [12]


In this paper we have presented the variety and distribution of genes connected to sulfur oxidation in 75 stress 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) are present in all strains. The path from elemental sulfur to sulfite is presently not dealt with for all thioalkalivibrio, as just six genomes encode the dissimilatory sulfite reductase system. The hdr-like operon is a good prospect for sulfur oxidation, although the release of sulfite from this enzyme system has yet to be demonstrated. It is discovered in all dsr-negative pressures and the genomes of four pressures consist of both, although the physiological repercussions of this are unknown.

Hierarchical clustering showed that the sulfur gene repertoire of individual strains correlates well with genomic groups formerly specified by anib analysis. Phylogenetic analysis of soxb, fccb, and soea amino acid series reaffirms the intricate evolutionary history of thioalkalivibrio that was reported in previous analyses of 16s rrna and cbbl sequences. Genomic contexts of genes present in several copies reveal that there is usually one genotype with series from all strains and one or more genotypes additional copies that were likely acquired through hgt.

There are a number of major unsettled concerns relating to the sulfur metabolism of thioalkalivibrio, most notably the oxidation of elemental sulfur as pointed out above. The in vivo function of the fad-dependent oxidoreductases that form a sister group to type ii sqr series offers another opportunity for more research study. [13]


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