Skincare obsessives: it's time to recall your GCSE chemistry lessons and bring sulphur centre stage.
The naturally occurring mineral, found everywhere from food to hot springs via volcanoes and the human body, is the beauty ingredient we're adding to our bathroom shelf, stat. Why? Well, thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, the nifty little element is ideal for targeting blemishes and balancing out excessive sebum production.
"Sulphur is most commonly used in products formulated for skin that is oily and acne-prone," Mario Badescu’s head aesthetician, Elena Arboleda, explains. "It encourages clarity, making it a lifesaver for those who tend to break out, and it dissolves dead skin cells at the surface of the skin, discouraging excess oil production."
Of course, what you might remember about sulphur from your school science class is that it smells. Bad. The formulations vary, but most brands won't offer you something that smells like rotten eggs, so don't fret – you won't have to ward your housemates away from the bathroom.
Sulphur can also be drying and cause skin to flake when used too much. Kate Somerville, founder of the cult skincare brand, advises us to "use sulphur spot treatments no more than a few days in a row to avoid irritation." She also suggests looking for "sulphur products that are intended for daily use and thus are formulated with moisturising and hydrating ingredients to help combat potential dryness."
Whether it's targeted treatments like Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion, which we dab on pesky spots with a cotton bud, intensive masks like Dr. Dennis Gross' Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask, or daily usage products like Kate Somerville's EradiKate Cleanser, sulphur is our new hero ingredient, banishing excess shine and calamitous spots from here on out.
Click ahead to shop our favourite sulphur beauty products.