If you have dealt with acne at any point in your life, you’re probably familiar with what benzoyl peroxide is. And we’re not talking about the errant pimple every few months that comes and goes relatively quickly. We’re talking about persistent breakouts that continue for an extended period of time, with painfully red blemishes that leave behind lifelong scars. Benzoyl peroxide is often a first step people suffering with acne take in an effort to get their skin under control. And for many, it works wonders.
Benzoyl peroxide is an anti-inflammatory bleaching agent that has been used for decades as a teeth whitener, hair dye, and now, acne fighter. It’s usually one of the first steps we recommend to acne patients who are trying to regain control of their complexion because of its ability to quickly and effectively erase blemishes by destroying acne-causing bacteria and flushing your pores with oxygen. It’s ability to penetrate deeply into pores breaks apart not only bacteria, but dirt, oil and makeup, resulting in a noticeable reduction in the pain and swelling that comes with inflamed pimples.
ARE THERE ANY RISKS WITH USING BENZOYL PEROXIDE?
So, remember how we mentioned that benzoyl peroxide is a bleaching agent? Well, don’t worry—it won’t turn your skin bright white. However, if you use it for an extended period of time it might have a lightening effect on your skin that you don’t want. So it’s important to use benzoyl peroxide as directed by your dermatologist or esthetician because they’ll be able to recommend a routine with this ingredient that works with your complexion without any issues.
Benzoyl peroxide can also be mildly irritating, leaving behind some temporary redness, itching, or light peeling. This is all very common with this ingredient, and your skin is likely to adjust to it after a few times. However, if you’re experiencing severe itching and peeling, it’s time to dial it back and use a little less. A little irritation can be common with most acne treatments, however, over-irritating your skin might have the adverse effect of causing more breakouts so it’s important to find a balance.
IS THERE ANYONE WHO SHOULDN’T USE BENZOYL PEROXIDE?
If you’re already using something on your skin that’s causing peeling or more cell turnover than usual, it might be best not to include benzoyl peroxide in the mix. As a rule, it’s best to keep your benzoyl peroxide away from retinol and vitamin C since they can increase peeling and irritation. If you love all of these ingredients and don’t want to give them up, just stagger them. If you plan to use benzoyl peroxide, do so in the morning and use your retinol at night. And if you plan to use BP at night, then skip the retinol and use your vitamin C that morning. And stay away from AHAs and BHAs because they’ll contribute to the irritation.
WHAT PRODUCTS SHOULD I USE?
There are a lot of products on the market that contain benzoyl peroxide, from cleansers to toners and moisturizers. If you have acne and want to dip your toe in the water of what it’s like to use benzoyl peroxide, we recommend Acne Control Serum as a first step. It can be used all over or as a spot treatment for large, painful blemishes.
If you want to get started with benzoyl peroxide but you’re not sure how your skin will react (or if it’s your best option), just schedule an appointment with your dermatologist or esthetician and you can get advice and tips on how to safely use it to get rid of your acne for good.
Contact our office at 561.805.9399 or email@example.com to schedule a facial or consultation and find out what will work best for your complexion.