Researchers are continuing to explore the potential of sulfur for eczema treatment due to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and keratolytic properties, which help in the exfoliation and softening of the skin.

Various treatment options are available for eczema, including topical corticosteroid creams and ointments, oral medications, and moisturizers.

While anecdotal evidence suggests the potential effectiveness of sulfur for treating eczema, no studies have been conducted on humans to support its effectiveness in managing eczema symptoms.

Let’s explore what researchers know about using sulfur for eczema treatment, including its potential benefits, effectiveness, and risks.

Sulfur has long been used in traditional medicine for various skin conditions due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, and sometimes dermatologists may recommend sulfur for treating other skin conditions, such as acne and scabies.

Some say that sulfur-containing products help manage eczema symptoms. However, this is anecdotal evidence.

According to a 2017 animal study, bathing in high-mineral spring water containing several minerals, including sulfur, reduces eczema-like inflammation. However, there’s limited research on using sulfur for treating eczema in humans.

People use sulfur to treat skin conditions in various ways, including:

  • Topical application: Sulfur is often found in pastes, ointments, creams, or lotions that are applied directly to the affected areas of the skin.
  • Sulfur baths: Some use sulfur-containing water or add sulfur-based bath additives.
  • Sulfur soaps and shampoos: These products often contain sulfur, which may be beneficial for managing various skin conditions.

Topical pastes and ointments

These products are applied directly to the affected skin areas to reduce inflammation and control itching associated with eczema. While some anecdotal evidence supports their use, further research is necessary to determine their true effectiveness.

Sulfur creams and lotions

Sulfur creams and lotions are applied topically to reduce inflammation and soothe the skin. They may contain a combination of sulfur and other ingredients. While some anecdotal evidence supports their use, there’s a need for more research to determine their true effectiveness.

Soaps and shampoos

Sulfur-based soaps and shampoos cleanse the skin or scalp during bathing or showering. This allows the sulfur to come into contact with the skin, reducing inflammation and irritation. While some anecdotal evidence supports their use, there is, again, a need for further research to determine their true effectiveness.

Homeopathic remedies

These are highly diluted substances derived from plants, minerals, or animals used in homeopathy. This type of treatment, long debated by medical professionals, is meant to treat various health conditions by stimulating the body’s self-healing mechanisms.

Some people say that homeopathic sulfur preparations help in managing their eczema. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, limited evidence supports homeopathy as a viable treatment for any health condition.

Potential benefits of using sulfur for eczema may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Sulfur may help reduce inflammation in the skin, a common symptom of eczema.
  • Antimicrobial effects: Sulfur may help inhibit the growth of certain bacteria or fungi that can exacerbate eczema symptoms or lead to secondary infections.
  • Keratolytic action: Sulfur appears to have keratolytic properties, meaning it can help break down and remove dead skin cells. Excessive skin cell buildup in eczema can lead to itching, scaling, and inflammation.
  • Drying effect: Sulfur has a drying effect on the skin, which can benefit people with oozing or weeping eczema lesions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a topical ointment containing 5–10% sulfur is considered safe for use in children and adults for the treatment of scabies.

However, potential side effects may include:

Contact a doctor right away if any of these side effects occur.

Here are a few steps you can take when trying some sulfur-based products.

Sulfur soap

Here’s how to try sulfur soap:

  1. Wet your skin with warm water.
  2. Lather the sulfur soap between your hands or onto a washcloth.
  3. Gently apply the lather to the affected areas of your skin.
  4. Massage the lather into your skin using circular motions for a few minutes.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
  6. Gently pat your skin dry.

While sulfur soap may be helpful for you, it can cause dryness or skin irritation. It’s best to use it sparingly and discontinue use if you experience any adverse reactions.

Sulfur cream or lotion

Here’s how to try sulfur cream or lotion:

  1. Start with clean, dry skin.
  2. Take a small amount of the sulfur cream or lotion on your fingertips.
  3. Gently apply it to the affected areas of your skin, using a circular motion to massage it in.
  4. Allow the cream or lotion to absorb fully into your skin.

In addition to sulfur, there are several other natural remedies that people can try including:

  • Cold compresses: Applying cold compresses or ice packs to the affected areas can temporarily relieve itching and soothe the skin.
  • Natural oils: Applying natural oils like cold-pressed coconut oil to the skin after bathing can help lock in moisture and reduce itching.
  • Colloidal oatmeal: Colloidal oatmeal can help relieve itching and irritation caused by eczema. Add it to your bathwater or create a paste with water and apply it to the affected areas.
  • Stress management: Stress can aggravate eczema symptoms, so incorporating stress management techniques like relaxation exercises can be beneficial.

Read more about treating eczema.

If your eczema symptoms are severe or show signs of infection, such as warmth, swelling, oozing, or pus in the affected areas, contact a doctor immediately.

The use of sulfur for treating eczema remains inconclusive due to limited scientific evidence. Some people claim to find relief from their symptoms, but this is anecdotal evidence. Its effectiveness in treating eczema in humans has not been studied. There’s a need for further research.