What is MSM ?

I’ve been upping my health game recently and MSM has made it back into my daily supplements. We also use it in a lot of Sweet Sisters’ products, so I thought I’d let everyone know a bit more about what it is and why I use (and love) it so much.

You’ve probably heard it said that a good criteria for choosing healthy skincare products is avoiding ingredients you can’t pronounce or aren’t in your kitchen cupboard. I can sort of see the logic in this, but when you really think about it, it doesn’t make any sense. The nutrient, MSM, is a perfect example as Methylsulfonylmethane is quite a mouthful and most folks don’t have it in their cupboard (but probably should:)

MSM is an organic form of sulfur, chemically known as dimethyl sulfone, a naturally occurring molecule that is derived from sea water evaporation. It isn’t the stinky yellow mineral that’s mined, but collects in the stratosphere, falls to earth with the rain, and is absorbed by almost every living organism. The commercial MSM is a nature-identical form that’s made in a lab from a synthesis of the element sulfur. It can either involve petrochemicals or not, and I bet you can guess which one we use:)

Now for why I love it….

Most MSM benefits stem from the chemical’s role in promoting healthy cell function and improving cell wall permeability, allowing vital nutrients to flow as they should. Organic sulfur is important to cellular respiration, signaling the oxidation-reduction reaction and enabling the transport of oxygen across cell membranes for healthy cellular regeneration. MSM enables the transfer of oxygen from the air you breathe and the water you drink, into your cells. It’s also critical to making glutathione, an antioxidant our bodies make to protect us from free radicals. This means that when our bodies are lacking sulfur…our cells may not be functioning optimally.

MSM is also described as nature’s ‘beauty mineral’ since it acts as the ‘glue’ that holds together our amino acid chains (aka the building blocks of all tissues). Keratin, present in the skin, hair, and nails, is particularly high in the amino acid cystine, which is found in organic sulfur. It’s the sulfur bond in keratin that gives it greater strength, so it would make sense that an increase in organic sulfur would support our collagen bundles and keratin to improve the condition of our skin, hair and nails. Sulfur is also rich in two B vitamins, thiamine and biotin, which are important to skin (thiamine) and hair (biotin). One study looked at the effect of MSM on hair growth. The researchers combined MAP (a form of vitamin C) at 7.5% and MSM at 10% and concluded that results were comparable to, or better than, the result in the group treated with minoxidil 5%, a pharmaceutical drug with potential side effects. Organic sulfur is one of the best ways to make your hair stronger, thicker, shinier, and vibrant in color.

In the world of cosmetics, MSM is known for inhibiting the breakdown of collagen, an essential constituent of tissue that provides structural support and impacts the flexibility and resilience of skin. The human body produces collagen naturally, but this production tends to decline in adulthood, starting in our 20s and 30s… hence the natural sag and increase in wrinkles. MSM offers a potential collagen-boost to support youthful resiliency. And it follows that by using MSM from a young age, you might reduce potential collagen loss before it even starts. Organic sulfur also helps heal old scar tissue, stretch marks, and fibroids for the same reason it drastically improves the health of your skin. There’s also some credible research and quite a bit of anecdotal evidence that MSM reduces the inflammation and symptoms related to rosacea and acne… all without potential side (negative) effects! Simply put, oxygenated cells are better able to repair damage and generate healthy new cells.

In addition to applying your MSM in the form of a lotion or cream, try adding 1-2 teaspoons crystallized MSM into your daily fruit smoothie or lemon water, and eating sulfur-rich foods like cruciferous vegetables, garlic, onions, leafy greens, mushrooms and nuts!

To your health + well being,


Here are a couple products with GENEROUS amounts of MSM!
Shea + Cupuacu Lotion 
MSM + Arnica Cream

As a side note, we use OptiMSM products exclusively. Due to the volatility of sulfur compounds, only a single purpose facility can prevent any cross-contamination that might occur if other sulfur-containing products were produced at the same location. Only one manufacturer that I know has such dedicated facilities: Bergstrom Nutrition (formerly Cardinal Nutrition), the maker of OptiMSM. Distillation processes prevent contamination including heavy metals and residual DMSO. Low moisture content helps prevent microbiological contamination and increases stability and shelf life.

Posted on 2 Comments

2 thoughts on “What is MSM ?

  1. Thank you Karen! I used to put MSM in my morning water and was just thinking recently of reviving that good habit you have inspired me to do it.

    1. Yay!!!

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