Acne treatment Acne treatment

Acne Medication With Benzoyl Peroxide

Acne Medication With Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Medication With Benzoyl Peroxide


Benzoyl peroxide is a form of benzoic acid used in the treatment of acne. Benzoyl peroxide is found in varying levels in many topical acne treatments, such as creams, lotions, gels and face washes. The medication works to treat acne in several ways, including killing the bacteria that cause acne--known as Propionibacterium acnes.

Acne treatment

Benzoyl peroxide for acne treatment is typically applied to the affected areas in gel or cream form, in concentrations of 2.5% increasing through the usually effective 5% to up to 10%. Research suggests that 5 and 10% concentrations are not significantly more effective than 2.5%, and 2.5% is usually better tolerated, though the majority of major studies comparing it to other treatments use the higher concentrations. It commonly causes initial dryness and sometimes irritation, although the skin develops tolerance after a week or so. A small percentage of people are much more sensitive to it and liable to suffer burning, itching, peeling and possibly swelling. It is sensible to apply the lowest concentration and build up as appropriate. Once tolerance is achieved, increasing the quantity or concentration and gaining tolerance at a higher level may give better subsequent acne clearance. Benzoyl peroxide works as a peeling agent, increasing skin turnover and clearing pores, thus reducing the bacterial count there as well as directly as an antimicrobial. It is often combined with salicylic acid, sulfur, erythromycin or clindamycin (antibiotics), giving rise to a combination drug, inbenzoyl peroxide/clindamycin. It can also be given with adapalene (a synthetic retinoid) inadapalene/benzoyl peroxide, a unique formulation considering most retinoids are deactivated by peroxides and acids.

How to use benzoyl peroxide Top

Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start using this product and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions regarding the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

There are many benzoyl peroxide products available. Many can be purchased without a prescription. Some products (such as cleansers, foam, or lotions) may require a prescription. Consult your doctor or pharmacist on the choice of the product that is best for you. Some products require shaking before use. Check your product package to see if your form of this medication needs to be shaken.

Apply benzoyl peroxide to the areas of your skin affected by acne. Avoid getting this medication into your eyes, inside your nose or mouth, or on any areas of broken skin since it may cause irritation. If this occurs, flush the area with plenty of water. Benzoyl peroxide may bleach hair or fabrics. Use carefully, and avoid contact with hair, clothing, and furnishings.

If using cleansers containing benzoyl peroxide, wet the affected area. Gently rub the cleanser into the skin for 10-20 seconds. Work into a full lather and rinse thoroughly and then pat dry. If too much drying occurs, you may need to rinse the cleanser off sooner or use it less often. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for further details.

If you are using the liquid wash, cleansing pad, or cleanser bar, use it instead of soap once or twice a day. Wet the skin before applying, gently work up a lather for 10 to 20 seconds, and rinse thoroughly. Do not scrub the skin.

If using the shaving cream, first wet the area to be shaved. Apply a small amount of the medication, gently rub into the area, and then shave.

If you are using a cream, foam, lotion, or gel, apply it to the affected area usually once or twice a day, or as directed. Before applying each dose, gently wash the affected area with a mild cleanser, then pat dry. Apply a small amount of medicine to the affected area and rub in gently. Some products may require rinsing off after application for a certain amount of time. Check your product package to see if your form of this medication needs to be rinsed off.

If you are using the medicated pads or sponges, wash the affected skin with a mild cleanser, then pat dry. Wipe the pad or sponge gently onto the skin to apply the medication, usually once or twice a day to the skin as directed.

Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Improvement in acne is usually seen after 3 weeks of use, and maximum benefit after 8-12 weeks of use.

Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time(s) each day.

Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.


Benzoyl peroxide is an antiseptic topical treatment that can remove bacteria from the skin that cause acne. When applied to the skin, benzoyl peroxide immediately breaks down into two elements: the first is oxygen, which oxygenates the pores--causing the P. acnes bacteria that causes acne to leave the skin. The other released element is benzoic acid. This acid works to clear oil and dead skin from the hair follicles inside the skin that cause acne.

Time Frame

When you begin applying benzoyl peroxide, you may notice a reduction in acne symptoms, such as skin redness or pimple size, within a matter of days. However, it may take as much as four to six weeks to experience significant relief of acne symptoms following benzoyl peroxide application. For this reason, benzoyl peroxide application requires a significant time commitment for you to experience results.


Benzoyl peroxide can be found in a number of acne treatments and in varying concentrations. Benzoyl peroxide may be included in acne treatments in levels of 1 to 10 percent in over-the-counter products. In face washes, benzoyl peroxide levels are typically lower because the medication is intended for everyday usage. When used as a gel or lotion spot treatment, benzoyl peroxide may be at a higher concentration, varying from 8 to 10 percent. Typically, any level at 2.5 percent or higher will be effective for daily use.


While benzoyl peroxide is effective in the treatment of acne, it also can cause skin dryness related to its skin-sloughing properties. For this reason, moisturize the skin following benzoyl peroxide treatment. Benzoyl peroxide has bleaching properties, so avoid the hairline and eyebrows when applying benzoyl peroxide and take care not to get it on your clothes.


Because benzoyl peroxide can be drying to the skin, so start with a once-daily application with only a small amount of benzoyl peroxide product. If you don't experience excessive irritation or redness, start using the product twice daily and in increasing amounts. However, if painful irritation or swelling occurs, stop use immediately.

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