Sulfur is the eighth-most abundant chemical in the human body and is essential for the production of certain essential amino acids. Sulfur supplements (pills, powders) are taken orally to increase the levels of the substance, which some believe helps prevent allergies, osteoarthritis, and muscle pain. Some people also use topical sulfur preparations to treat conditions ranging from intoxicated to rosacea.
Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) are types of sulfur compounds. While these products are widely available, research on the health benefits of sulfur ingredients is limited.
Sulfur plays an important role in the body and is essential for the synthesis of certain key proteins. For example, sulfur is essential for the formation of the amino acids cysteine and methionine, which are part of glutathione – a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage.
Although naturally occurring sulfur in food is important for the body, there is little evidence that taking sulfur supplements is helpful. To date, research has focused on a few key areas of interest.
Due to the limited number of high-quality clinical trials, it is very quick to recommend supplements containing sulfur, sulfur added to the topic, or balneotherapy in the treatment of any health condition.
Sulfur is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in dye products. It is often combined with salicylic acid.
A small study was conducted in 1987 on 48 coronary studies. The results showed that when subjects used shampoo containing sulfur and salicylic acid, they reported mild dosage and dandruff.
Little research has been done on this subject since then, and further studies are needed to confirm that this treatment is effective.
Sulfur ingredients are often used to treat osteoarthritis. MSM can be of particular help to people with osteoarthritis of the knee, according to a study review published in the journal Osteoarthritis Cartilage in 2008.
The authors of the study found that “data from more severe MSM trials provide good but not clear evidence that MSM is superior to placebo in the treatment of mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the knee.” However, since most of the revised studies were of poor quality, the authors of the review realized that “no definitive conclusion can be reached at present.”
There is also evidence that balneotherapy can benefit people with osteoarthritis. Balneotherapy is a different form of treatment that involves treating health problems by bathing, often in hot springs and in some naturally rich water. In most cases, the water used in balneotherapy contains sulfur.
In a 2007 report from the Cochrane Database of systematic reviews, for example, scientists increased seven trials in the use of balneotherapy in the treatment of osteoarthritis and found that treatment caused significant improvements in pain and quality of life (compared to placebo).
But a 2015 report from the same magazine looked at experiments on the use of balneotherapy in the treatment of arthritis and found that there was not enough evidence to say for sure whether the treatment was effective.
The authors of each review warned that many of the reviewed studies were incorrectly designed and noted that more research is needed before balneotherapy is recommended for the treatment of arthritis.
MSM supplements can help reduce symptoms of allergies, according to a small, long-term study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2002.
In the study, 55 patients took MSM supplements or a placebo daily for 30 days. Looking at the details of the 50 participants who completed the study, the researchers found that those assigned to MSM supplements experienced significantly greater improvement in lower respiratory symptoms compared with members of the placebo group.
Excessive sulfur can help treat rosacea, according to a 2004 report by Cutis magazine. According to the authors, sulfur-containing lotions and/or cleansers can help enhance the benefits of other topical or oral treatments for rosacea.
Potential side effects
Not enough is known about oral sulfur supplements to ensure their safety. However, there are other reports that MSM and DMSO can cause certain side effects, such as:
Sulfur may be safe when used topically. In clinical studies lasting up to eight weeks, participants safely used sulfur-containing products with a concentration of up to 10%.
What is Sulphur used for?
The major derivative of sulfur is sulphuric acid (H2SO4), one of the most important elements used as an industrial raw material. Sulfur is also used in batteries, detergents, fungicides, the manufacture of fertilizers, gun power, matches, and fireworks.
What does sulfur do to your skin?
Sulfur helps dry out the surface of your skin to help absorb excess oil (sebum) that may contribute to acne breakouts. It also dries out dead skin cells to help unclog your pores. Some products contain sulfur along with other acne-fighting ingredients, such as resorcinol.
Is Sulfur good for wrinkles?
Sulfur is an essential part of natural collagen production. But as we age, sulfur is depleted, leaving skin vulnerable to free radical damage and further breakdown of collagen, which leads to wrinkles and sagging. Harmful bacteria can also damage skin and accelerate the aging process.
Does Sulphur lighten the skin?
Although skin-lightening products can reduce dark skin hyperpigmentation, they can also create light spots, and they can darken dark acne scars. Sulfur can help because it clears the dead skin and encourages new skin cell growth, and it is not as harsh as most skin lighteners.
Is Sulphur good for hair?
Sulfur is found within amino acids, which are components of protein. Proteins — and especially keratin, which is known to be sulfur-rich — are needed for growing strong hair. The sulfur from onions may also help promote collagen production. Collagen in turn helps the production of healthy skin cells and hair growth.