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Allergic to Sulfites? Allergic to Sulfur?

People Gather to Enjoy Healing Sulfur Springs at White Springs Florida

I just made an awesome Sulfur and Spirolina Soap because I’ve had several people request a sulfur soap, including a dermatologist for her patients.

A woman came into my store today asking about products for Ezcema. Well, I told her about African Black Soap and my Pine Tar soap but thought for her spot-like ezcema, she could try sulfur soap.

She told me she is allergic to “sulfur drugs” and thought she should avoid topical sulfur too.

I told her I’d research it and this is what I’ve found:

According to Dr. Zimmer at Zimmer Nutrition, no one is allergic to sulfur. He writes:

Sulfur is the chemical element that is found in Sulfa Drugs, Sulfites, and Sulfates. Sulfur is an essential element of life and is found in amino acids and other important molecules in the body. It is IMPOSSIBLE to have a sulfur allergy. You cannot survive without sulfur. When people say that they are allergic to sulfur they mean sulfites or sulfonamides, not sulfur or sulfates.

According to the Australian Socoeity of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (

There are different substances and an allergy to one does not mean an allergy to all. There is:

  • Sulfur:
    • An elemental powder that I use in my Sulfur and Spirolina Soap.
  • Sulfonamide:
    • Found in both antibiotic and non-antibiotic medicines.
    • Allergy ranging from mild to severe is possible with any type of antibiotic drug containing sulfonamides.
    • As to non-antibiotic drugs containing sulfonamides  ASCIA writes: “these medicines do not need to be avoided by people because they are allergic to sulfonamide antibiotics; the allergy rarely if ever “crosses over”.
  • Sulfites:
    • a type of preservative that can cause adverse reactions which are similar to allergies but do not involve the immune system.
  • Sulfates
    • It seems there is a lot of forms of sulfates, for instance sodium lauryl sulfate, a common component of many store purchased soaps and detergents and shampoos. They can cause irritation but according to ASCIA:It is usually safe to use a sulfate when a person has a sulfonamide or a sulfite allergy.


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