If you deal with acne, or have dealt with acne, the name Benzoyl Peroxide probably rings a bell to you. The ingredient is usually contained in formulas that soothe inflammation and active acne. Read on to find out why it’s one of the most frequently chosen and most effective topical antibacterial compounds used to treat acne.
What is benzoyl peroxide?
Benzoyl peroxide has been recommended by dermatologists for decades. It was first used as a medication in the U.S. way back in the 1930’s. It’s an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory ingredient, used to treat acne, as a bleaching agent, hair dye and teeth whitener.
How does benzoyl peroxide work?
As an antiseptic, this powerful substance destroys the bacteria that resides on the skin and inside pores and pimples. It’s also an oxidizer, meaning it injects air into pores, which loosens oil, dirt and bacteria. Benzoyl peroxide acts as an anti-inflammatory and can reduce the swelling, pain and redness created by inflammatory pimples.
A wide range of products are formulated with benzoyl peroxide, including cleansers, gels, lotions, and spot treatments. These medications are available both over the counter and by prescription and come in varying strengths, ranging from 2.5% solutions to more potent 10% blends.
Another thing to note about this ingredient — it works best when used regularly. Daily usage has been found to be more effective, than once in a while use when the skin is heavily irritated or broken out.
What are the risks and side effects of benzoyl peroxide?
Allergies to the medication are rare, but like anything in life, some people may be more sensitive to it than others. It’s always a good call to test a tiny amount on a small area of skin and wait a few hours. If there is no irritation, begin using any benzoyl peroxide treatment every other day for the first week or two. Only when the skin has fully adjusted should daily treatment become part of a more effective skincare routine.
Benzoyl peroxide increases cell turnover and dries out the complexion as it pulls oil from the skin, so it can cause the skin to become red, itchy or flaky. The skin tends to adjust to the ingredient after several uses, but if you’re encountering serious discomfort, we recommend that you consult with a dermatologist or other medical professional.