Benzoyl peroxide is one of the most common ingredients used to treat acne, and you can find it in all kinds of products, including items in your local drug store or beauty store, as well as over-the-counter and prescription acne medications. Whether you’ve been using benzoyl peroxide for a while, or you’re new to this ingredient, here’s a complete guide on what it is and how it can help fight acne.
Benzoyl Peroxide Basics
Benzoyl peroxide (sometimes abbreviated as BPO) is an antiseptic that works by reducing germs and bacteria on the surface of your skin. It can also help your pores remove dead skin cells and excess oil (sebum) that could clog pores and lead to future breakouts.
Benzoyl peroxide works best for both non-inflammatory and inflammatory acne, including:
It can also be used to treat cystic acne, but this type of acne is particularly stubborn and may require more than just over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide products. Talk to a skin specialist or dermatologist if you need help with cystic acne.
Finding the Right Benzoyl Peroxide Skincare Products
It’s important to find the right products for different types of acne; while several different products may have BPO as an active ingredient, different formulations are used to treat different skincare concerns. You can choose by:
- Product type – benzoyl peroxide comes in various products, including face wash, foams, body wash, and topical acne creams or lotions
- Concentration – BPO comes in different concentrations as the active ingredient, ranging from 2.5% on the low end to 10% on the high end (it’s also available in between those two concentrations in a 5% dose)
If you’re not sure which products or concentrations are best for you, talk to a skincare specialist or a dermatologist.
Benzoyl peroxide is considered a safe product for most people to use, but does have some side effects. You may want to start with application every other day, then work up to every day and eventually more often if necessary. The most common side effects include:
- Excessive dryness
- Skin peeling
It can also bleach clothing and hair, so avoid getting it in your hair and wait for it to dry completely before putting on your clothes or getting in bed. Wash your hands after applying it to avoid transferring it to other materials. If you experience an allergic reaction (severe swelling, difficulty breathing, redness, or itching), stop using it immediately. If you have sensitive skin talk to a skin specialist about what else might work better for you.
Find Your Perfect Benzoyl Peroxide Products
We have a broad selection of benzoyl peroxide products for a variety of face and body acne, skin types, and treatments. Shop today or schedule a Virtual Consultation with a skin specialist to learn more.