Saturday, 2 June 2012


Benzoyl Peroxide In Solid Form

In my early teens, when I started dealing with acne benzoyl peroxide acne products seemed to be the common thing. I can't remember finding any product back then that wasn't benzoyl peroxide based. Everything from Clearasil to Clear-Zit were all based on this one ingredient.

For me benzoyl peroxide was not a good option but yet it seemed like the only option. For some reason these products would dry and burn my skin. Even if it helped clear some of my acne the way my skin looked after was not a sight to behold. Where ever a pimple was you would know, cause that area would be charred and dark. I have since tried to stay away from products with benzoyl peroxide.

A lot of people think that this is one of the best methods to treat mild to moderate acne, while a lot of people will say a clear and resounding "no". Over the years a lot of companies started moving away from benzoyl peroxide as the main and active ingredient in their acne products and started using Salicylic Acid (more on this in another post). Even with this change a lot of people and some companies still swear by benzoyl peroxide as the better option.

In this post I want to look at Benzoyl Peroxide a little closer to see how it really works and the side effects.


Propionibacteria acnes, or P. acnes, are the bacteria responsible for acne breakouts. They cannot live in an aerobic (oxygen-rich) environment. Benzoyl peroxide works by introducing oxygen into the pore, thereby killing P. acnes. When the bacteria population is reduced, the number of breakouts on the skin is reduced as well.

Benzoyl Peroxide is a long term treatment method, as is the case with most over the counter treatment. If you stop using the treatment it's most likely that those bacterias will return and so will the acne.

Most treatment methods call for a thin layer of benzoyl peroxide lotion to be applied over a thoroughly cleansed and dried skin. It can be used once or twice daily. Apply thoroughly over all areas affected by acne. Don't use just as a spot treatment. Benzoyl peroxide must be applied to all affected areas of the skin, as it's intended to stop pimples before they erupt.


The most common side effects are dryness and flaking. They are generally mild and can be reduced by using an oil-free moisturising lotion daily. Other side effects include excessive dryness and flaking, redness, and burning.

You can reduce the chances of experiencing side effects by following all directions on the product package, or those given to you by your dermatologist. If unwanted side effects occur, you may want to reduce your application to every other day, or a lower strength treatment.
Rarely, severe redness and peeling, extreme burning, itching, swelling and/or rash occur. IF this happens, you should discontinue use at once and contact your dermatologist.

Why Benzoyl Peroxide Is Considered Bad

  • Dries out most skin types, and in some cases excessive dryness and flaking.
  • Stains your towels, even after you’ve washed and rinsed your face and hands.
  • Can bleach your eyebrows and hair.
  • Can cause increased redness and irritation.
  • Removes the top layer of skin, which also decreases the sun protective effect (roughly SPF 3), making you more susceptible to sun damage.
  • Benzoyl peroxide used to be labeled as a category 1 acne treatment product by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), then they changed it to a category 3 product which means the safety is unknown. As of 2010 this has been changed again.
  • Repeated sun exposure or BP use generates free radicals that damage the skin’s structure and cellular DNA, resulting in premature aging of the skin.
  • Because BP generates free radicals it interferes with and slows the healing process. The red and brown marks that are a part of the acne healing process may last weeks longer when BP is a regular part of the daily regimen.
  • The product is tested on animals.

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