benzoyl peroxide acne treatment

benzoyl peroxide acne

Benzoyl Peroxide Topical Acne

Benzoyl peroxide is known to
dermatologists as the “gold standard” of topical acne
treatments. When applied to your acne prone skin, whether as a
pimples cream, gel or lotion, it breaks down into hydrogen
peroxide and benzoic acid. It is the hydrogen peroxide that is
believed to be active in fighting acne. Benzoyl peroxide kills
the P.acnes bacteria that infects blackheads and whiteheads and
turns them into pimples. One advantage over other antibiotics
is that bacteria don’t develop a “resistance” to benzoyl
peroxide. It also might have some effect in clearing blocked
bp tube

First the good news. Although
it is widely prescribed by dermatologists in strengths of
5-10%, concentrations of 2.5% which you can get over the
counter are just as effective and much less expensive. If your
dermatologist tries to prescribe a 10% B.P. pimples cream to
you, save your money and get the 2.5% cream instead. An added
benefit is that the 2.5% pimples cream will be much less
irritating to your skin. If you have light to moderate acne and
don’t have sensitive skin, a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide acne
treatment might be worth trying.


Benzoyl peroxide is most
effective when used in combination with salicylic acid which
helps the benzoyl peroxide to penetrate more deeply into your
clogged pores. If you have mild acne, use a salicylic acid
cream or wipe followed by a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide gel or cream.
Both can be bought very cheaply over the counter and without a

Okay, now the not so good
news. Most people that I talk to, including myself, have not
responded to benzoyl peroxide other than to develop dry, flaky
itchy skin. Maybe that’s because I generally deal with moderate
to heavy acne sufferers. If you have cystic acne, benzoyl
peroxide is unlikely to help. One issue is that benzoyl
peroxide only treats one of the contributing factors to pimples
which is the
. Sure, the
bacteria can infect your blackheads and whiteheads but the
true cause of acne is hormonal and benzoyl peroxide does
nothing to treat this underlying factor. (
my article on what causes acne

There are a few other things
to keep in mind when using benzoyl peroxide as an acne
treatment. First, it is a bleaching agent (hydrogen peroxide,
remember?) so be careful around your clothes, hair, bedding and
towels. Also, because it does not treat the real cause of acne,
any benefits you see from using benzoyl peroxide pimples cream
stop when you stop taking it. That’s great for the cosmetics
companies who have you hooked but not so great for your wallet.
Finally, don’t forget that it is very irritating to your skin
and can cause it to burn, peel, itch and become red and
inflamed. Benzoyl peroxide was first used to treat acne because
doctors liked it as an effective “peeling agent.” Fortunately,
at over the counter strength of 2.5%, you might be able to
tolerate it fine.

Like I said, please stick to
trying the 2.5% solutions. If benzoyl peroxide will work for
you, it will work at that strength. In my experience, this
“gold standard” only works if you mild acne. Don’t expect any
miracles. For a few bucks, why not give it a try.

Continue reading:
salicylic acid OTC treatment