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As probably all people know, sulfur is very famous element. People from very early time knew it. It was used in China for so-called "burning arrows". Sulfur was source for treatment of many diseases by Greeks and Arabians. In time of Arabic chemistry, scientists in East countries used sulfur for air-conditioning of temples. One of the earliest ideas about substance was idea that all substances consist of few elements including sulfur.

In the Mid Ages sulfur was fully discovered by French scientist Antony L. Lavoisier, who included it to the list of non-metals in 1789. And, in 1822 Russian scientist E. Micherlich fully discovered its characteristics.

Now sulfur is very abundant substance and is very useful by humans. First of all sulfur is used as pesticide in the breeding of wine, cotton, grape, etc. When added to the special types of rubber, it makes it more hard and elastic. Of cause, sulfur is the main source for manufacturing sulfuric acid, which is also very useful in agriculture. Sulfur is used for manufacturing matches, gunpowder, and known by everyone luminous materials. Also, sulfur is used for producing sulfa drugs. So it is seen that sulfur is one of the most useful substances in manufacturing, agriculture and production of different useful materials.

Sulfur is hard, brittle substance, yellow colour. There are several kinds of sulfur, which have different physical properties, though they are the same element. By different methods these types of sulfur can be received. The examples of these types are rhombic sulfur and cuneiform sulfur. One of the types can be dissolved in water, but another cannot. Sulfur can react with many elements, because it has different valences +4, +6, and 2. It can react with oxygen and different acids, what makes it very strong reactant. The density of sulfur is 2.07g/cm3 and the melting point is 119.3o C. The boiling point of the sulfur is 444.6o C (if it is quickly cooled, it changes to crystals cuneiform shape). Sulfur is bad conductor of heat and electricity. It has different isotopes such as 3216 S, 3316 S, 3416 S, and 3616 S. Sulfur is the part of the strongest acid- sulfuric acid.

In the periodic table sulfur is in the Family of oxygen (16th group). It consists of oxygen (O), sulfur (S), selenium (Se), and polonium (Po) (The last one is the radioactive element). All elements in the group are non-metals. Most elements (except oxygen) have valences +4 and +6, and sometimes have valence 2. These elements are very good reactants, because of their special configurations of electron clouds. They are bad conductors of heat and electricity, as all non-metals.

The oxygen is the most abundant element in the Earth. It is very good reagent, and can make oxides with almost all elements. It is a gas without smell or colour. Because of its ability to react, it is very important for all living things.

The selenium and the tellurium are very rare elements, which can be found in many compounds with sulfur. They can also make compounds with many metals.

Polonium is radioactive element, and mostly hasnt been discovered in chemistry.

Sulfur can be found in great amounts in USA and Italy. It is also very abundant along the coasts of Russia and Ukraine (such as Crimea, Baltic Sea, etc.) In nature sulfur mostly occur in sulfuric salts, such as Na2SO4 or K2S. In organisms of animals sulfur is found in organic compounds, such as amino acids, proteins, enzymes, etc. or in non-organic compounds that are in blood, urine, saliva, milk, etc. For plants all sulfuric acids salts (SO4 2) are the most important nutrients.

There are a lot of interesting (and sometimes unknown for everybody) facts about sulfur. One of them tells us that when heated, at 160oC, sulfur becomes brown liquid, but between 190o- 300oC, its density becomes bigger and it becomes more viscose. Sulfur is the part of the sulfuric acid (H2SO4 ), the strongest acid. It makes it so strong by "catching" four atoms of oxygen. (Sulfur can do this becomes of its big valence).

Sulfur is widely used for acne treatment, or any treatment of the skin. You've heard of the famous sulfur bathes? Sulfur has a way to naturally heal problem skin. It drys skin that is too oily. It is used in areas of the world where bacteria and fungus is a problem. These germs hate sulfur!

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J Drugs Dermatol. 2004 Jul-Aug;3(4):427-31. Related Articles, Links 

The use of sulfur in dermatology.

Gupta AK, Nicol K.

Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, Sunnybrook And Women's College Health Science Center, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. [email protected]

Sulfur has antifungal, antibacterial, and keratolytic activity. In the past, its use was widespread in dermatological disorders such as acne vulgaris, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, pityriasis versicolor, scabies, and warts. Adverse events associated with topically applied sulfur are rare and mainly involve mild application site reactions. Sulfur, used alone or in combination with agents such as sodium sulfacetamide or salicylic acid, has demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of many dermatological conditions.

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