Benzoyl Peroxide for Damaged Skin
Benzoyl peroxide is a topical medication commonly used to treat the symptoms of mild or moderate acne. Although it's not officially labeled for other uses, doctors sometimes prescribe this medication for other forms of skin damage, including decubital ulcers -- more commonly known as bed sores -- and stasis ulcers, which result from poor blood circulation.
Benzoyl Peroxide Basics
Benzoyl peroxide has antiseptic properties that allow it to reduce the level of harmful bacteria on the surface of your skin, according to the New Zealand Dermatological Society. Unlike antibiotics, it does not promote the development of drug-resistant bacteria and can help reduce drug resistance if it occurs. Benzoyl peroxide also acts as an oxidizing agent and encourages softening and easy removal of the outer layer of your skin, as well as the blackheads and whiteheads associated with common acne. In addition, benzoyl peroxide can help reduce skin inflammation. It's available in forms that include solutions, lotions, creams, gels, soaps, liquids and foams.
Once a medication is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, doctors have considerable leeway in how they prescribe its use, according to the Mayo Clinic. If another suitable use is discovered, your doctor may take a medication designed and marketed for one purpose and adapt it to another. In the case of bedsores and stasis ulcers, doctors have learned through experience that some people with these conditions benefit from the application of benzoyl peroxide. Ask your doctor if this "off-label" use is appropriate for your circumstances.
Bedsores and Ulcers
Bedsores occur when constant pressure on an area of skin disrupts normal circulation and triggers tissue death, the Mayo Clinic reports. This type of pressure is commonly associated with bedridden individuals, people in wheelchairs and others with ongoing mobility restrictions. Areas of your body with a susceptibility to bedsores include your hips, heels and buttocks. Stasis ulcers occur in certain people who have poor blood circulation in their lower legs, according to Skinsight.com. This poor circulation triggers a buildup of fluid in your skin, which is followed by the formation of open sores on your skin's surface.
When used for acne-related skin damage, benzoyl peroxide is typically applied to your skin once or twice a day, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus. The specific method of application depends on the form of the medication in use. During treatment, follow the instructions that come with your medication, and consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. If you use benzoyl peroxide for skin damage related to bedsores or stasis ulcers, ask your doctor for clear guidelines on its application.
MedlinePlus lists common potential side effects of benzoyl peroxide use that include skin tingling or warmth, slight stinging and peeling or drying of your skin. Tell your doctor if you have persistent or disruptive versions of these effects. More serious potential effects include redness, swelling, burning, blistering, itching and rash formation. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any degree of these effects.
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