Benzoyl peroxide is an active substance that is sold in concentrations of 2.5%, 4%, 5% and 10%, and it is currently one of the most effective antibacterial ingredients that you can get over the counter. Recent studies show that benzoyl peroxide can be an effective acne treatment, especially when combined with a retinoid and/or exfoliating product.
The main quality of this substance is to reach inside the pores that hold hair follicles, where the P. acnes bacterium is naturally found; the substance will kill large groups of bacteria, preventing the inflammation of the pore. There is a medium risk of developing an irritation at this substance and the P. acnes bacteria do not develop benzoyl peroxide resistance, as it happens in the case of topical or oral antibiotics.
Although benzoyl peroxide is a great antibacterial agent and it is very potent at penetrating the skin, the bacteria that triggers the formation of pustules is extremely stubborn and requires a whole ritual in order to get rid of it. If benzoyl peroxide is not enough to keep it on hold, a combination with a chemical exfoliating product (usually salicylic acid), a retinoid, and a topical antibiotic (only if necessary) is ideal.
Antibiotics should be administered only if a doctor recommends their use, based on a bacteriological analysis and antibiogram.
On the acne.org website are countless pages about hundreds of patients subjected to a treatment with this substance, developed by a certain Dan. Dan believes that a large quantity of benzoyl peroxide should be applied in order to treat acne, the same website allowing you to purchase the substance in significant quantities and at a very accessible price.
But, out of everything I read, there is no documentation that can prove the fact that a higher quantity of benzoyl peroxide is more effective at treating acne. Still, what makes Dan’s treatment work? The fact that benzoyl peroxide becomes part of a daily routine is the difference between using just benzoyl peroxide and giving your skin everything it needs to stop bacteria from developing.
Benzoyl peroxide, like many other active substances with a high potential in treating acne, creates an irritant environment, but the irritations are often the result of misusing the products that contain this substance. To get the advantages of this antibacterial agent, you need to include it in a correct daily skin care routine: cleaning with a water-soluble product, UV protection for every day of the year, and proper hydration according to your skin type.
If skin gets irritated and scales after the use of the substance, it’s best to stop using it right away and begin utilizing it every 3 to 4 days. There are people that don’t tolerate benzoyl peroxide well, so in their case, it is recommended the usage of a different substance (azelaic acid, for example).
For those that use benzoyl peroxide in the form of Brevoxyl or other similar creams, like Quinoderm, my advice is to start using a concentration of 2.5% and to use this substance in a very thin layer on the affected skin areas. Make sure to apply the product on a skin that was previously cleaned, allowing it to act for 10 to 15 minutes, using a hydrating product suitable for your skin time afterward at all costs.
Products destined for skin care and integrating them into your daily skin care routine
If you have rarely occurring pustules (especially around your period), I recommend using the product on the pustules only, until they are completely healed. Stay away from popping your pustules, as spots and scars are much more stubborn than acne.
Important reminder: benzoyl peroxide is a substance that bleaches fabrics!!! Wash your hands well after using the product and be careful with what type of fabrics your face comes into contact after you applied benzoyl peroxide (you should not touch your face throughout the day).
Apply an SPF30, or even higher, protection cream in a generous layer on your face, every morning, regardless of season (and regardless if you apply benzoyl peroxide on your face every morning or not).
Products that contain benzoyl peroxide:
- 4% Brevoxyl – over the years, Brevoxyl was most unavailable in dispensaries
- 5% and 10% Quinoderm
- 10% Clean & Clear – Persa Gel 10
- 2.5% Daniel Kern – Treatment
- 5% Mary Kay – Acne Treatment Gel
- 10% OXY – Maximum Vanishing Oxy Spot Treatment
- 5% Serious Skin Care – Clearz-It Nano Hydra+ On-the-Spot Treatment Acne Medication
- 2.5% Proactiv Solution – Repairing Treatment
- 5% Clinique – Acne Solutions Emergency Gel Lotion
- 2.5% Paula’s Choice – CLEAR Acne Fighting Treatment 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide
- 5% Paula’s Choice – CLEAR Extra Strength Acne Fighting Treatment 5% Benzoyl Peroxide
- 5% OXY – Oxy Clinical Clearing Treatment
- 2.5%, 5% and 10% Benoxyl
- 2.5%, 5% and 10% Peroxiben
- 5% and 10% Benzac AC – manufactured by Galderma
- 5% Basiron AC – manufactured by Galderma
- 10% Clearasil – DailyClear Tinted Acne Treatment Cream
- 10% DailyClear Vanishing Acne Treatment Cream
- 10% Benzoyl Peroxide 10 – MD Formulations
There are other products as well that contain benzoyl peroxide, so a simple search on the Internet will help you identify the cosmetic and pharmaceutical products with this antibacterial ingredient.
You can ask for your doctor’s recommendation when it comes to using this product. Also, there are several treatments with a topical application that contain benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin (an antibiotic), which can be used only if you get a prescription.