Acne treatment Acne treatment

Carbamide Peroxide for Acne


Acne vulgaris is the most common type of the skin-blemishing condition. According to, more than 85 percent of the population has been afflicted with Acne vulgaris to varying degrees at some point. A new topical acne treatment, carbamide peroxide, or CPO, is emerging in clinical trials as a promising treatment for Acne vulgaris.

The Facts

The term Acne vulgaris is used to describe an inflammatory skin disease. Acne vulgaris is characterized by whiteheads, blackhead, papules, pustules and in severe cases, nodules and cysts, according to Acne occurs when excessive oil, or sebum, and dead skin cells build up and clog your pores. Because hormone fluctuations play a role in the development of acne, the condition is common in adolescents and menstruating or pregnant women. Genetics influence if you will develop the condition. Chances are if your parents had acne, you are likely to as well.


Keeping the skin oil-free and clean on a daily basis is the current focus of preventing acne breakouts. Topical agents used in the treatment of acne vulgaris include sulfur, sulfur compounds, resorcinol, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, various retinoids including tretinoin, tazarotine and adopalene and topical antibiotics. The use of carbamide peroxide, or urea peroxide, as an acne treatment is a relatively new idea.

The Basics

According to the GreenFacts website, CPO is a chemical made up of hydrogen peroxide and urea. CPO is most commonly used as bleach or disinfectant in products such as hair bleaches, hair perming products, hair relaxers, contact lens solutions, ear drops, antiseptic mouthwashes, products to treat mouth sores, wound disinfectants, toothpastes and tooth bleaching products.


Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D., president and CEO of Elorac, a rapidly growing specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of dermatological disorders, says Carbamide Peroxide would be the first new topical product for acne in years. According to Bernstein, "It's an improved, next-generation version of benzoyl peroxide, which is the most commonly used product for acne." Unlike benzoyl peroxide, CPO is significantly less irritating to the skin. Current clinical trials are investigating the effectiveness of CPO in the form of solutions, creams, gels and lotions.


In a patent application by Joel E. Bernstein, founder and executive chairman of Elorac, two examples demonstrate the effectiveness of CPO in treating inflammatory acne. In the first example, 60 patients diagnosed with acne were treated twice daily with 10 percent CPO solution on one side of the face for eight weeks. At the end of the eight-week treatment period, the side of the face treated with CPO significantly improved. In the second example, a 20-year-old male with acne applied a 5 percent CPO gel twice daily to his face. After 12 weeks, the number of acne lesions had been reduced from nine to one.


Acne can be distressing. It is not something that you should have to accept. For more information about CPO and to find out if it might be effective in treating your acne, talk to your dermatologist. Because it is a relatively new treatment, more research is needed regarding the side effects and risks associated with the use of CPO.

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