Benzoyl peroxide is an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory chemical, known to treat mild to moderate acne when it is applied topically over the skin. It decomposes to release oxygen which kills acne producing bacteria. However, in case of treatment of severe acne, it can be used with chemical peels, oral antibiotics and other topical medications. Benzoyl peroxide is easily available over the counter and comes in several forms – cream, gels, lotion and soaps.
What Are The Uses Of Benzoyl Peroxide?
- Most important use for benzoyl peroxide (BPO) is to treat mild to moderate acne lesions. Gel, creams and; both forms of BPO are used on acne lesion sites as it has bactericidal effect on bacteria associated with acne. These bacteria induce antibiotic resistance. Combining BPO with other plant extracts, has more powerful effect in treatment of acne.
- Benzoyl peroxide helps in decreasing excess oil on skin and thus helps in reducing acne breakouts.
- Benzoyl peroxide has strong antiseptic and oxidizing
- It helps in removing stains.
Also Read: Effective Treatments For Acne / Pimple
How To Use Benzoyl Peroxide For Acne?
It is recommended to apply this solution twice a day in all the affected areas. When you initially start using this chemical, you will be prescribed to use a strength of about 4%- 5% of the solution, as it can cause skin irritation. And, the strength of the solution is gradually increased based on how the skin reacts to this chemical.
Note that creams and gels are advised to be applied for about fifteen minutes before you wash the affected area and pat it dry with a clean towel. Once your skin is used to the chemical, you can apply it twice a day and leave it on.
It is important to remember that you need to avoid the sensitive areas of your skin/face such as nostrils, eyes and mouth, while applying benzoyl peroxide.
While using ‘wash’; you must wet your skin first. Then gently wash the areas which are affected. Keep it for a minute before rinsing it off. Pat the area dry, using a clean dry towel.
Why BPO Must Be Used At The Advice Of Doctor Only?
Although benzoyl peroxide is a harmless antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, but there is a possibility that it may not be suitable for your skin and may result in major irritation and redness. Though it is rare for benzoyl peroxide to interfere with other drugs that are topically or orally used, but it is always recommended to get a thorough medical examination by an expert dermatologist, before you start this dosage.
Benzoyl Peroxide Side Effects
There are no known major long-term side effects of benzoyl peroxide. As this chemical reduces the oil production of the skin, it results in dry skin, which can be tackled using a non-oily moisturizer. In some cases, you may observe redness and skin irritation, which is rarely severe and does not last longer than a week. It is proven that benzoyl peroxide can decrease skin bacteria, although it does not cause bacterial resistance.
Other common temporary side effects of BPO are:
- Mild stinging
- Tingly feeling
- Skin dryness
- Redness or other irritation
It is recommended to check with a specialist before you start using this solution, as you may have sensitive skin, which may adversely react to this chemical. Furthermore, there is a possibility that benzoyl peroxide may interfere with your other medications.
Results After Using Benzoyl Peroxide
When you apply benzoyl peroxide continuously for a certain period of time, it results in reduction of acne lesions; including blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. Benzoyl peroxide is not a cure for acne, but, it treats acne and helps in reducing skin bacteria. Therefore, once you stop using this chemical, the bacteria that is causing acne, will reoccur and as a result your acne will re-appear.
Interactions While Using Benzoyl Peroxide
Keep this chemical away from your mouth and eyes, while applying it on the affected areas. Additionally, do not use benzoyl peroxide if your skin is sunburned, dry, chapped or irritated. It is also recommended to avoid this chemical on open wounds or areas of eczema, until these areas are fully healed.
And, it is important to understand that benzoyl peroxide does not react well when used with tretinoin, which is a topical medicine capable of causing severe skin irritation.
It is rare that benzoyl peroxide, when topically applied on the skin, reacts to other drugs that are taken orally or are injected into the body. But, it is always better to seek advice from your dermatologist to weigh all the pros and cons of using this chemical before you start using it.
What Are The Alternatives To Benzoyl Peroxide?
- Salicylic Acid – Salicylic acid is a popular alternative to benzoyl peroxide, which is easily available. Salicylic acid is known to remove dead skin, so, while benzoyl peroxide is an antibacterial agent, salicylic acid is a keratolytic agent. Salicylic acid is available in a variety of forms, including gel, cream, wash or medicated pad.
- Vitamin A Creams – Vitamin A creams, such as retin A, differin and renova, are a good alternative to benzoyl peroxide and are known to help in treating acne effectively. These creams contain retinol and comprise of a less concentrated form of Vitamin A.
Benzoyl peroxide, over the years, has become the top most solution for treating acne as it kills acne, reduces skin bacteria, and unclogs skin pores while keeping them clear. And, in comparison to other acne fighting agents, this chemical is friendlier to the skin and absolutely proficient in healing/treating acne.