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Uses for Benzoyl Peroxide

Uses for Benzoyl Peroxide Uses for Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is a chemical (C14-H10-O4) that is widely used in the cosmetics and beauty industries. Its primary medicinal use is in the treatment of acne--it oxygenates the skin and, as explains, acne bacteria cannot survive in oxygen-rich environments. It is applied topically to the skin in the form of gels, lotions, soaps, foams and creams, and is an active ingredient in brand-name products such as Benzac W, Benzagel, BenzaShave, Triaz, Desquam and Clinac BPO. In addition to its use in acne treatment, benzoyl peroxide has a few off-label uses as well.

Clearing Acne

Benzoyl peroxide is the main active ingredient in many topical anti-acne products, both prescription strength and over-the-counter. It is listed as a skin irritant by the Materials Safety Data Sheet, but when used in low concentrations , it can aid in your fight against acne, though care must be taken to avoid contact with healthy skin. It can be used alone or in combination with other anti-acne treatments such as Retin-A and salicylic acid, and will usually show positive results in about two to three weeks.


Benzoyl peroxide also comes in the form of shaving cream or foam. To use this form of the acne medication, wet the area to be shaved, apply a small amount of the product and shave regularly. Finish up by rinsing and patting dry, but do not apply any aftershave products without consulting with your doctor or dermatologist first, since these products can dry your skin and lead to more acne forming after you shave.

Off-Label Uses

The term "off label" refers to uses that are deemed beneficial but are not listed on the product's label. For benzoyl peroxide, doctors recognize two common off-label uses, according to the Mayo Clinic: decubitus ulcers (more commonly known as bed sores) and stasis ulcers (a type of ulcer that develops due to poor circulation).

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