Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne and Potential Side Effects

benzoyl peroxide

If you are looking for an active ingredient to treat your acne, then benzoyl peroxide is an effective one.

It works as a topical treatment and an antiseptic, and you can easily find it in supermarkets.

Moreover, it is present in the form of OTC medications, gels, face wash, and spot treatment at different concentrations.

These concentrations range from mild to moderate and you can choose as per your choice.

Benzoyl peroxide is an antiseptic as well as an antibacterial, which means you can effectively use it to treat mild to moderate acne and acne-causing bacteria.

Thus, it helps to decrease acne-causing bacteria in your skin and reduces inflammation. It also helps to open up blocked skin pores.

Whether you intend to use it as a spot treatment, gel, face wash, or an OTC medication, keep on reading to learn more about it.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Most often, when you have acne, you might have heard your friends and family suggesting to use benzoyl peroxide.

This is because it has antibacterial and antiseptic properties which means it can kill bacteria.

When you apply benzoyl peroxide on your skin, it penetrates into it and works against Propionibacterium acnes.

It is important to note that this bacteria i.e. propionibacterium acne is the acne-causing bacteria.

However, unlike antibiotics or topical antibiotic treatments for acne, your body does not develop resistance against benzoyl peroxide as in the case of antibiotics like clindamycin.

You can easily find it in any supermarket in the form of over-the-counter medications or OTC Medications, topical treatments, or gel form.

Moreover, it is also available in different concentrations ranging from mild to moderate for different forms of acne.

It has also bleaching properties, which is why you may also find benzoyl peroxide in higher concentrations in teeth whitening and bleaching products.

However, it is important to note that benzoyl peroxide is available with other ingredients as well.

These combinations can make it more effective in treating certain types of acne.

Certain products of this may also contain potassium hydroxyquinoline sulfate, which can help kill microorganisms on your skin.

While other benzoyl peroxide products are only available if you have a prescription and may contain antibiotics or retinoids.

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Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne and Pimples

Benzoyl peroxide effectively works for inflammatory acne that has red bumps and contains pus, pustules, papules, cysts, and nodules.

These are the characteristics that make it different from blackheads and Whitehead.

Moreover, one of the most serious forms of acne is cystic acne and is also the most difficult one to treat.

Red bumps, below the surface of the skin, make it different from other types of acne.

benzoly peroxide for acneWhile these pimples have pus deep inside them, however, it is often hard or difficult to identify the prominent ‘heads’.

One of the contributors of cystic acne is P. Acne bacteria which benzoyl peroxide can help treat in combination with other prescription medications.

However. It is important to consult a dermatologist for better treatment options if you have this type of acne.

Benzoyl Peroxide for Cystic Acne, Blackheads, and Whiteheads

Acne scars are due to acne outbreaks and are especially that cases with inflammatory acne.

Even if you resist the urge to pick at the lesions, you can still have acne scars.

With extensive sun exposure, acne scars can worsen, thus, it is important to wear sunscreen every day.

According to certain theories and dermatologists, benzoyl peroxide helps you to shed dead skin cells and make these scars less prominent, however, research does not support this idea.

benzoyl peroxide for blackheads and whiteheadsMany dermatologists consider blackheads and whiteheads a type of acne.

These are classified as non-inflammatory because they do not cause red bumps that are the differentiating characteristics of other types of acne.

You may be wondering whether you can use benzoyl peroxide for both these types of acne of not

While benzoyl peroxide help to treat excess oil and shed dead skin cells that clog your skin pores, it may not be the best treatment for blackheads and whiteheads.

How to use Benzoyl Peroxide?

Benzoyl peroxide comes in different forms of acne treatment products, however, it is important to select the right skin treatment that deals effectively with your skin care concern and your preference.

For instance, if you prefer to use a face wash or a body wash that contains benzoyl peroxide as an active ingredient then you might have to choose between different forms

For the face, you may want to use a face wash or gel treatment and for your body, you may prefer to use a body wash with active ingredients.

Another key to choosing benzoyl peroxide is the right concentration. The concentration you choose, however, depends on the skin and its type.

Some individuals can use or tolerate high concentrations of benzoyl peroxide i.e. 10% of it on their skin.

However, others may prefer a lower concentration.

Moreover, the concentration you choose to use also depends on the area of your body you intend to use benzoyl peroxide on.

Benzoyl Peroxide in Acne Products

You can find benzoyl peroxide in the following acne products:

Acne Creams and Lotions: You can apply these topically once or twice a day on the entire area of your skin as both a treatment and preventive measure.

in acne products

Face Washes and Foams: Use this once or twice a day to prevent acne and treat existing lesions.

Acne Body Washes and Soaps: These are ideal if you have frequent acne breakouts on your chest, back, and other parts of the body

Benzoyl Peroxide Gel: They tend to come in the form of spot treatment with higher concentrations and you can typically apply them to the affected area.

However, you can also consider using birth control pills for acne, but you should first consider consulting your doctor or dermatologist before using them.

After medical advice diagnosis, you can start using benzoyl peroxide and apply a thin layer of it on your skin. After that wash your hands and in case it stings wash the affected area.

Potential Side Effects on Skin

While benzoyl peroxide is safe for many individuals, it can cause certain side effects.

This is especially correct if you are using it for the first time.

It is helpful when you start using it once a day and then build p the frequency over time.

This makes it more tolerable for your skin.

Moreover, you can also minimize side effects by starting off with lower concentrations.

Thus, it is important to contact your dermatologist about the side effects and precautions of using it.

Side effects on Skin

Benzoyl peroxides work by peeling away your skin to get rid of dead skin cells, excessive oil, and bacteria trapped underneath your skin.

Such effects can be dryness as well as redness, and excessive peeling.

potential side effectsYou might also notice itching, and general irritation at the site of application as well,

However, do not use it if you have sunburns.

Allergic Reactions

While allergic reactions due to the use of benzoyl peroxide are rare, they are still possible.

Thus, stop using it immediately if you observe redness and irritation in the area of treatment.

Moreover, you should also go to an emergency room if you have severe swelling and breathing difficulties.

Benzoyl Peroxide and Skin Conditions

Your dermatologist may not recommend using it if you have sensitive skin, as such skin is more prone to side effects like rashes and irritation.

Moreover, it is also not a good choice for people with eczema or seborrheic dermatitis.

Learn more about dermatitis here.

Benzoyl Peroxide Vs. Salicylic Acid for Acne

While benzoyl peroxide is effective for inflammatory acne, it is worth considering salicylic acid if you have other types of acne like blackheads and whiteheads.

Both help to clean pores, however, salicylic acid helps to get rid of dead skin cells more effectively.

Such exfoliating effects can help treat noninflammatory lesions.

benzoyl peroxide vs. salicylic acidMoreover, it will not stain your hair or clothing as benzoyl peroxide can.

However, it can still lead to dry, red, and peeling skin.

Thus, as a rule of thumb, if you have inflammatory acne along with oily, less sensitive skin, benzoyl peroxide is a better choice.

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Other OTC Acne Treatment

Benzoyl peroxide is not only the treatment option for acne and acne scars.

Other OTC products can help treat bacteria, excessive oil, and dead skin cells too.

You can consider the following treatments:

  • adapalene
  • tea tree oil
  • sulfur
  • salicylic acid

However, it is important to note that no acne product will clear up your acne and scars overnight.

visiting your doctorThis is also the case with benzoyl peroxide as it can take up to 6 weeks for new products to take complete effect.

If you do not see results after 6 weeks of use, then you should consider visiting a dermatologist.

They might recommend a prescription-strength formula or advice diagnosis or treatment if you have severe acne.

Moreover, they may also recommend a different treatment option.

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The TakeAway

For treating acne, benzoyl peroxide is one of the treatments you can choose from.

Its popularity goes beyond its availability and affordability as it can help treat inflammatory acne lesions and scarring. Moreover, it is helpful when you use it with other treatments like retinoids.

However, everyone’s skin is different and it may not work well for your skin. Any acne treatment can take a few weeks to give results, however, you should visit your dermatologist if the treatment is not working for you.

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