Friday, January 20, 2012

Ingredients: What is Benzoyl Peroxide?

Benzoyl peroxide is the most common treatment for the most common skin condition: acne. It's available in prescription strength, which requires a visit to the doctor and over-the-counter (OTC) concentrations, which can be purchased by anyone at their local drugstore.  Benzoyl peroxide comes in all types of forms: cleansers, foams, lotions and gels.

This powerful ingredient fights off acne efficiently and effectively by acting as a peeling agent. It helps to keep pores free and clear of debris. The "peeling" effect increases the normal skin turnover rate, which reveals newer, younger and healthier skin faster. It also does a great job of killing bacteria in pores. In the simplest form, acne is a dramatic reaction to bacteria in the skin. The only way to keep acne at bay is to kill the bacteria that causes it. How benzoyl peroxide fights acne is that it penetrates the pore on the skin and sends oxygen deep into the pore where it then kills the acne-causing bacteria.

Benzoyl peroxide is available without a prescription in concentrations ranging from 2.5 to 10%. More does not necessarily mean better when it comes to this acne fighting ingredient. Dermatologists recommend starting on the lower end of the concentration spectrum when using benzoyl peroxide. This ingredient is so effective in killing bacteria, it can also cause dryness and irritation on the skin. Using a lower dosage enables the skin to be more tolerant of the harsh ingredient, ultimately leading to less skin irritation. It's typical for the skin to take up to a week before it develops a tolerance to benzoyl peroxide.


  1. I've used plenty of different products with that ingredient - and all the same effect - drying out my skin, too much. It's true it works, but at the cost to make your skin dry and more sensitive.

    1. I agree G. Unfortunately, the really effective acne treatments can be very drying on the skin. This is why its important to treat the condition and then once it has healed, switch up your skin care routine to address your current skin condition and skin type.

      Our skin is always changing. The products we use on our skin should always be addressing and targeting those changes.