Benzoyl Peroxide for Pimples
Benzoyl peroxide is a topical agent used to get rid of pimples. You might use products containing benzoyl peroxide to treat or prevent recurrences of acne, either with or without a prescription. Consult your doctor before using benzoyl peroxide, especially if you're using other acne medications or are pregnant.
Benzoyl peroxide is a topical medication that's often sold under the brand names Benzac, Benzagel, Triaz, Stridex, Loroxide, Acetoxyl and Brevoxyl, the Mayo Clinic says. Benzoyl peroxide is applied to your skin and not ingested or taken internally. The medication is considered a topical skin or acne product that's available in some over-the-counter remedies and prescription forms, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Benzoyl peroxide has antibacterial actions, as well as the ability to dry your skin to remove dirt and oils, explains the University of Michigan Health System. Benzoyl peroxide's antibacterial effects act to fight the infection sources of pimples, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The drying action helps you to keep your skin clean and prevent acne breakouts. In addition to treating acne, benzoyl peroxide is sometimes also recommended for treating bed sores and other skin ulcers, the Mayo Clinic says.
Benzoyl peroxide comes in many different forms, such as a gel, lotion, foam, pad, shave cream and soap. You can also find benzoyl peroxide in cleansers and face masks. Follow the label directions or your doctor's instructions on the proper use of the benzoyl peroxide product to treat acne. Whichever form you use, you should keep benzoyl peroxide away from your eyes, mouth and nose. Also keep the medication away from your clothes and hair, because it can cause staining. After you apply benzoyl peroxide, you shouldn't wash the skin areas for a minimum of one hour.
Talk to your doctor before using benzoyl peroxide if you're pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding, because the medication might be unsafe for your infant, warns the University of Michigan Health System. You should not use benzoyl peroxide with many other topical acne products, such as those containing tretinoin like Retin-A, Tretin-X and Avita. Some people can be allergic to benzoyl peroxide, so seek medical attention immediately if you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as breathing difficulty, swelling of your face and throat, rash or hives, cautions the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Also, consult your doctor before using benzoyl peroxide if you have eczema, seborrheic dermatitis or other skin conditions in addition to acne, as well as sunburned, windburned, chapped or otherwise irritated skin.
The most common side effects that you might experience while using benzoyl peroxide for acne include mild burning, itching, tingling, dryness, redness or stinging of your skin, says the University of Michigan Health System. Although rare, you could experience more severe side effects from benzoyl peroxide like blisters, painful skin irritation and swelling, the Mayo Clinic notes. You could have potentially severe skin irritation if you use benzoyl peroxide along with other topical peeling products for acne, alcohol-based skin products or harsh hair products, like permanent waves. Also, using a sunscreen with PABA as an ingredient along with benzoyl peroxide could cause skin discoloration. Wear other types of sunscreen and stay away from tanning beds or sunlamps while you're using benzoyl peroxide, advises the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
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