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Benzoyl Peroxide Dangers

Benzoyl Peroxide Dangers

Benzoyl peroxide is a common ingredient in over-the-counter and prescription medications for treating acne. It's used in soaps, lotions, creams, gels, liquids, foams and cleansing pads, and it comes in different concentrations in these products. Benzoyl peroxide is widely used and not considered dangerous, but side effects are possible. The Mayo Clinic warns it is important to use benzoyl peroxide preparations only as directed in order to minimize any adverse reactions.

Minor Side Effects

Medline Plus, a service of the U.S. Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, says benzoyl peroxide may cause side effects such as dryness or peeling of the skin, a feeling of warmth, a slight stinging or a tingling sensation. If any of these symptoms become severe or don't go away, then it's time to call your doctor. The Mayo Clinic says skin irritation is most likely to occur during the first three weeks of benzoyl peroxide use. It also warns that acne may get worse before it gets better when you begin to use these products. People who use benzoyl peroxide on the skin should avoid using any other topical medicine in the same area for at least an hour.

Side Effects Requiring Immediate Attention

Medline Plus says benzoyl peroxide products can cause side effects that should be reported to your doctor immediately. If you experience burning, blistering, redness, itching, rash or swelling, be sure to report the symptom to a health care provider. If you experience a serious side effect, you also may want to report it to the Food and Drug Administration's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program. Reports can be filed online by you or your doctor or by phone at 1-800-332-1088.

Hair and Fabric

The Mayo Clinic and Medline Plus advise people to be careful in the handling of benzoyl peroxide products. Both sites warn that benzoyl peroxide may bleach hair or colored fabrics.

Groups to Avoid Use

Benzoyl peroxide products are not for everyone. The Mayo Clinic says children under the age of 12 should not use benzoyl peroxide unless directed to do so by a doctor since studies of this medicine have been done only on adult patients. If you've ever had any unusual or allegic reactions to benzoyl peroxide in the past, tell your doctor before trying it again. Medline Plus says that before using benzoyl peroxide products, you also should tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breast-feeding or plan to become pregnant. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while using benzoyl peroxide.

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