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

Sulfur is applied to the skin for dandruff and a scratchy skin infection caused by mites (scabies). It is also applied to the skin for acne and skin soreness (rosacea), and taken orally for many other conditions, but there is limited scientific proof to support these usages. [2]



Being perfectly readily available in native form, sulfur was known in ancient times and is described in the torah (genesis). English translations of the christian bible frequently described burning sulfur as “brimstone”, generating the term “fire-and-brimstone” sermons, in which listeners are reminded 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 “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 deal with granular eyelids. Sulfur was used for fumigation in preclassical greece; this is discussed in the odyssey. Pliny the older discusses sulfur in book 35 of his nature, stating that its best-known source is the island of melos. He mentions its usage for fumigation, medicine, and lightening cloth.

A natural kind of sulfur referred to as shiliuhuang (石硫黄) was known in china because 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 were interested in sulfur’s flammability and its reactivity with specific metals, yet its earliest useful usages were found in traditional chinese medicine. A tune dynasty military treatise of 1044 advertisement explained various formulas for chinese black powder, which is a mix of potassium nitrate (kno3), charcoal, and sulfur. It remains an ingredient of black gunpowder.

Indian alchemists, specialists of the “science of chemicals” (sanskrit: रसशास्त्र, romanized: rasaśāstra), composed extensively about the use of sulfur in alchemical operations with mercury, from the 8th century ad onwards. In the rasaśāstra custom, sulfur is called “the stinky” (गन्धक, gandhaka).

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

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

Modern times

Right: today sulfur is known to have antifungal, antibacterial, and keratolytic activity; in the past it was used against acne vulgaris, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, pityriasis versicolor, scabies, and warts. This 1881 ad baselessly declares efficacy against 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 use 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 transportation of the sulfur, coupled with the failure of this financially rewarding export to transform sicily’s backwards and impoverished economy, caused the sulfur crisis of 1840, when king ferdinand ii provided a monopoly of the sulfur industry to a french firm, breaking an earlier 1816 trade agreement with britain. A tranquil solution was eventually worked out by france.

In 1867, essential sulfur was discovered in underground deposits in louisiana and texas. The highly effective frasch process was established to extract this resource.

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

With the arrival of the contact process, most of sulfur today is used to make sulfuric acid for a large range of uses, particularly fertilizer.

In recent times, the main source of sulfur has actually become petroleum and gas. This is because of the requirement to eliminate sulfur from fuels in order to prevent acid rain, and has led to 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 reinterpreted as representing an/ f/ sound and resulted in the spelling sulfur, which appears in latin towards the end of the classical duration. 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 erroneously hellenized latin -ph- was restored in middle english sulphre. By the 15th century, both complete latin spelling variants 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 kind selected in the united states, whereas canada uses both. The iupac embraced the spelling sulfur in 1990 or 1971, depending upon the source cited, as did the classification committee of the royal society of chemistry in 1992, restoring the spelling sulfur to britain. Oxford dictionaries keep in mind that “in chemistry and other technical usages … The -f- spelling is now the basic kind for this and related words in british in addition to us contexts, and is progressively used in general contexts as well. [3]

Physical homes of sulfur

Sulfur has an atomic weight of 32.066 grams per mole and belongs to group 16, the oxygen household. 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 (system less). Sulfur is generally found as a light-yellow, nontransparent, and fragile solid in big amounts of small orthorhombic crystals. Not just does sulfur have two times the density of water, it is also insoluble in water. On the other hand, sulfur is highly soluble in carbon disulfide and a little soluble in numerous common solvents. Sulfur can likewise differ in color and blackens upon boiling due to carbonaceous pollutants. Even just 0.05% of carbonaceous matter darkens sulfur significantly.

Many sulfur is recuperated directly as the component from underground deposits by injecting super-heated water and piping out molten sulfur (sulfur melts at 112o c). Compared to other components, sulfur has the most allotropes. While the s8 ring is the most typical 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 space temperature, rhombic sulfur (sα) is a steady solid consisted of cyclic \( s_8 \) particles.
  • At 95.5 ° c, rhombic sulfur ends up being monoclinic sulfur (sβ). The crystal structure discovered in monoclinic sulfur differs from that of rhombic sulfur. Monoclinic sulfur is also comprised of \( s_8 \) particles.
  • Monoclinic sulfur becomes liquid sulfur (sλ) at 119 ° c. Liquid sulfur is straw-colored liquid made up of \( s_8 \) molecules and other cyclic particles consisting of a range of 6 to twenty atoms.
  • At 160 oc, this ends up being a dark, thick liquid called liquid sulfur (sμ). The particles are still made up of 8 sulfur atoms but the particle opens and transforms from a circle into a long spiral-chain particle.
  • At 180 ° c, the chain length and viscosity reach their maximum. Chains break and viscosity decreases at temperatures that surpass 180 ° c.
  • Sulfur vapor is produced when liquid boils at 445 ° c. In the vapor that is produced, \( s_8 \) particles control however as the vapor continues to warm up, the particles 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]

Mechanism of action

Sulfur serves as a keratolytic agent and also it has antibacterial activity. It likewise kills fungi, scabies mites and other parasites. Sped up sulfur and colloidal sulfur are used, in form of creams, creams, powders,.

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

Foods and drinks abundant in sulfur

Sulfur is discovered in a big variety of foods. The biggest categories include.

  • Meat and poultry: specifically 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: especially 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: specifically dried peaches, apricots, sultanas, and figs
  • Particular veggies: 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 drinks: particularly beer, cider, white wine, coconut milk, and grape and tomato juice
  • Dressings and spices: especially horseradish, mustard, marmite, curry powder, and ground ginger

Consuming water can also include considerable 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 commonly added to packaged foods like jams, pickles, and dried fruit to extend their service life. Sulfites can also establish naturally in fermented foods and beverages including beer, wine, and cider.


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

Uses of sulfur

Supplement use need to be individualized and vetted by a health care expert, such as a signed up dietitian, pharmacist, or physician. No supplement is intended to deal with, cure, or prevent a disease.

Sulfur plays an essential role in the body. It is essential for the production of key proteins and the building blocks of those proteins, which are referred to as amino acids. For example, sulfur is needed for the synthesis, or production, of the amino acids cysteine and methionine. These amino acids belong to an effective antioxidant known as glutathione.

Although there is little research available on sulfur, there are couple of circumstances in which sulfur supplements may be advantageous.

What is an antioxidant?

Antioxidants are compounds in your body that can avoid cell damage, so they protect you against different types of diseases and diseases.

Joint and muscle pain

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


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

It is suggested that msm supplements may work as an anti-inflammatory that could perhaps safeguard cartilage. For those with arthritis, the result might be less discomfort and a better series of movement in the joints. Nevertheless, research in this area is restricted and blended.

A few research studies have actually 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 two times day-to-day or placebo for 12 weeks. Those that received the msm supplement reported enhanced discomfort signs and physical function. However, the advantage and security of msm for this use and its long-term application can’t be validated.

An extra study found comparable results when they randomized 49 individuals with knee oa to get 1.125 grams msm 3 times everyday versus placebo for 12 weeks. The authors kept in mind that the improvement in pain and physical function with msm was small and the study did not figure out if it was a scientifically considerable modification.

Another study evaluated a supplement which contained msm in combination with a number of 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 discomfort were randomized to receive the supplement or placebo for eight weeks. While those who took the supplement reported minimized joint pain, there was no effect on markers of inflammation or improvement on a six-minute walk test.

A different meta-analysis found that neither dmso nor msm was effective in decreasing pain from oa. It should be noted that this meta-analysis was done in 2009 and did not consist of 2 of the research studies discussed previously.

More research is still required to identify the benefits of supplementing sulfur, what the proper dosage should be, and whether it is better to supplement sulfur by itself or in a mix with other ingredients.


Balneotherapy is an alternative therapy that’s been used for centuries to alleviate joint and muscle discomfort. Balneotherapy involves bathing irritated or stressed out joints and muscles in warm springs and water that contains sulfur along with other rich minerals.

Research study is mixed concerning the efficiency of balneotherapy. It’s been thought to reduce discomfort and improve the quality of life for those with osteoarthritis. Nevertheless, a 2015 research study evaluation discovered there wasn’t enough proof to reveal it aided with symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

The bottom line on balneotherapy: it can be used in addition to other treatments to decrease low-grade inflammation and stress-related pain or tightness. However, it is still recommended to get treatment from a healthcare provider to alleviate the signs of your condition better.


As an anti-inflammatory, msm seems to reduce the inflammation set off by unusual immune responses, which affects individuals who have allergies to food or ecological factors.

In a randomized, double-blind study, scientists revealed that msm substantially reduced allergic reaction symptoms. Taking 3 grams of msm daily for 2 weeks helped those with allergic reactions breathe much better and reduced their nasal blockage. More research study is needed.


Dandruff is a skin problem on the scalp that causes itching, flaking skin, and possible redness and swelling. Sulfur is authorized by the food and drug administration (fda) for usage in over-the-counter dandruff products that often consist of salicylic acid.

Little research study has been done given that a little 1987 study of individuals with dandruff. That research study showed that when individuals used hair shampoo containing sulfur and salicylic acid, they reported less scaling and dandruff. Further studies would help to evaluate the effectiveness of sulfur for dandruff.


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

Combination sulfur solutions containing 10% sodium sulfacetamide and 5% sulfur have actually been revealed to significantly reduce redness and lesions brought on by rosacea. These topical formulas, suggesting creams or lotions applied to the skin, also appear to have couple of negative effects. Nevertheless, some people are hypersensitive to sulfur products.

Interstitial cystitis

Interstitial cystitis (ic) is persistent bladder inflammation. The fda has actually approved dmso for the treatment of ic. It belongs to a liquid solution that is placed into the bladder. This needs a health care specialist. Anesthesia is generally required for the treatment.

Extra claims

The majority of other claims about sulfur do not have the research study to support them. It has not been revealed to help with menopause signs, enhance nails, or deal with persistent obstructive pulmonary disease (copd), hyperlipidemia, or battle cancer. [7]

Advantages of sulfur for skin

Some of the qualities of sulfur that make it terrific as an acne treatment (for example, its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties) are also helpful for treating a range of other skin concerns.

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

Promotes exfoliation: sulfur works to exfoliate dead skin and remove impurities: shah states that sulfur has a keratolytic effect (indicating it works to soften and thin the epidermis), which helps eliminate dead skin cells and avoid stopped up pores.

Battles bacteria: sulfur has antibacterial properties, and, according to cheung, sulfur is a dermatologist-favorite since it eliminates bacteria, fungi, and various parasites.

Deals with delicate skin problem: cheung states because sulfur is anti-inflammatory and assists to soften and exfoliate thick, dead skin, it’s often used to deal with acne, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff. Shah includes that it’s likewise understood to deal with eczema and rosacea. [8]

How to use sulfur for skin?

Sulfur is available in a wide array of skin care items, in addition to targeted acne treatments.

People who want to use sulfur on their skin can select from:.

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

Sulfur products are offered otc or with a prescription. They may include extra active ingredients, such as resorcinol or sodium sulfacetamide.

Individuals can use sulfur treatments alone or together with other acne treatments. Frequently, utilizing a mix of treatments can help acne heal quicker.

For instance, individuals could use an otc sulfur face mask when a week and a benzoyl peroxide wash every day. Additionally, a dermatologist may prescribe a topical retinoid for nighttime usage and a sulfur-based cleanser for morning usage.

Carrying out a patch test

Individuals ought to always carry out a patch test before using any new item on their skin. They can do this by applying a small amount 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 likely safe to use the item to the face or other parts of the body. If side effects develop, it is suggested to terminate the use of the item. [9]

Sulfur topical adverse effects

Get emergency situation medical help if you have signs of an allergy: hives; hard breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Sulfur topical might trigger major adverse effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:.

  • Serious burning, redness, or swelling where the medication was used;
  • Serious dryness or peeling of dealt with skin; or
  • New or intensifying skin signs.

Common adverse effects of sulfur topical may consist of:.

  • Mild burning, tingling, stinging, itching, or soreness;
  • Peeling, dryness; or
  • Oily skin.

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


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

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

For acne:

For cream and bar soap dose types:

Grownups and children– use on the skin as required.

For lotion dosage form:

Adults and children– utilize two or 3 times a day.

For ointment dose type:

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

For seborrheic dermatitis:

For ointment dosage form:

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

For scabies:

For ointment dosage form:

Grownups and children– use the 6% ointment each night for 3 nights.

Missed out on dosage

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

Special safety measures and cautions

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: sulfur is possibly safe when applied to the skin properly, short-term. Products including sulfur in concentrations approximately 6% have been applied securely nighttime for up to 6 nights.

Children: sulfur is possibly safe when applied to the skin properly, short-term. Products containing sulfur in concentrations as much as 6% have been used securely when applied nighttime in kids and teenagers for approximately 6 nights. Products containing sulfur in concentrations as much as 2% have actually been used safely when looked for 3 hours daily for approximately 6 days in babies.

Sulfa allergic reaction: it is typically thought that individuals who dislike sulfa drugs might be allergic to sulfur consisting of items. This is not true. People with an allergy to “sulfa” react to the sulfonamide in some antibiotics and related drugs. They do not react to essential sulfur. [12]


In this paper we have provided the diversity and circulation of genes associated with sulfur oxidation in 75 stress of thioalkalivibrio, a group of haloalkaliphilic and chemolithoautotrophic sob from soda lakes. We have shown that flavocytochrome c, the truncated sox system (soxaxyzb) and sulfite: quinone oxidoreductase (soeabc) are present in all pressures. The pathway from essential sulfur to sulfite is currently not dealt with for all thioalkalivibrio, as just 6 genomes encode the dissimilatory sulfite reductase system. The hdr-like operon is an excellent candidate for sulfur oxidation, although the release of sulfite from this enzyme system has yet to be shown. It is discovered in all dsr-negative strains and the genomes of 4 stress consist of both, although the physiological consequences of this are unidentified.

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

There are a variety of significant unsettled concerns relating to the sulfur metabolic process of thioalkalivibrio, most notably the oxidation of essential sulfur as pointed out above. The in vivo function of the fad-dependent oxidoreductases that form a sibling group to type ii sqr series provides another avenue for more research. [13]


  4. inorganic_chemistry)/ descriptive_chemistry/ elements_organized_by_group/ group_16% 3a_the_oxygen_family/ z016_chemistry_of_sulfur _( z16)
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