Should I Use Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne?

There are a select few skincare ingredients that are tried and true acne fighting superstars. Salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and bentonite clay all fall under this category of essential pimple destroying assets. Dermatologists across the globe often recommend these ingredients due to their powerful but generally safe nature.

Among their ranks you will also find benzoyl peroxide. A powerful antibiotic, benzoyl peroxide helps to kill acne causing bacteria while also providing some anti-inflammatory relief. This makes it a great choice, as killing the bacteria means acne cannot spread and will shrink rapidly!

Should I Use Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne?

Where to Buy Benzoyl Peroxide

One of the best facets of benzoyl peroxide usage is that it is incredibly easily accessible. You can find cleansers, masks, and spot treatments with it as an active ingredient at almost any price point.

Doctors can prescribe higher potency creams if needed but the over the counter stuff can help kick mild breakouts, making it a great option if you cannot afford to see a professional about your skin issues.

Is Benzoyl Peroxide Safe for Skin?

Additionally, it is one of the safer methods and has few interactions with other medications. The general advisory is to avoid other strong acne medications like salicylic acid. Using it in tandem with other ingredients like dapsone can cause some skin discoloration, leaving you oompa loompa orange so it is probably a good idea to steer clear of them.

Amazingly, you can safely use peroxide based treatments alongside retinoids. Most other medications do not play well with pore exposing creams!

How to Use Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne?

Benzoyl peroxide is typically used topically through cream, balm, and salve application to problem areas. Prescription cleansers in the form of liquids and bar soaps are also available and take the place of your regular facial wash.

For the cleanser formulas, you simply wash your face one to two times a day based upon what your doctor recommends.

Spot treatment ointments and gels should be used once or twice daily directly on troublesome spots to reduce their size, discomfort, and duration. If you miss a dose, do not fret. Simply apply your medication as soon as you can unless it is almost time for the next dosage, then just skip the missed dose and move on.

Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne Side Effect

Never double up on dosing, as it can cause skin irritation and other health issues.

Though some people feel no negative effects from using benzoyl peroxide, there are definitely some fairly common side effects that users should expect and be prepared to experience. Most commonly, users experience dry patches where they apply the medication.

This is common because if the medication can dry out zits, it can also cause a bit of dryness to the surrounding skin, too.

You may also have redness, a slight stinging sensation, and a tight feeling in the area for the same reason. If you experience any sign of an allergic reaction, like blisters or rashes, seek medical attention and discontinue use of the medication until you get to see your doctor.

Some medications and over the counter products like vitamins can interact with benzoyl peroxide so be upfront with your doctor about any and all medications or supplements you may be taking to help lessen your risk of side effects.

Does Benzoyl Peroxide cause sun sensitivity?

Suncare is always an important thing to consider adding to your skincare routine. The sun’s damaging rays to contribute to everything from acne issues to skin cancer.

Seriously, it is a good idea to pack on the SPF when you have the chance to, even if you are not near water or staying out for very long. Suncare is especially necessary while using benzoyl peroxide products, as they make you more sensitive to the sun and increase your likelihood of a more severe burn.

Be sure to use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when going outside and to reapply it frequently. There are sunscreens on the market at every price point that are specifically designed for usage on the face, making wearers a little less greasy and a little more comfortable.

Additionally, when using products containing benzoyl peroxide you should avoid applying it near your mouth, eyes, and the inner parts of your nostrils. It can cause irritation and burning and can upset your stomach.

It should only be used topically and as directed by your doctor or the packaging if purchased over the counter without a prescription. When you first start using such a product, test it on one or two bumps for a short period of time to see how it reacts with your body.

Give yourself three to five days before applying it more liberally and always stop immediately if you notice any irritation or signs of a potential allergic reaction.


Benzoyl peroxide is sometimes confused with a similar treatment ingredient called salicylic acid. The two are both used to treat mild acne and have similar side effects. They are also both applied topically but that is where the similarities end.

Benzoyl peroxide works by killing off acne causing bacteria that lurks in pores and wounds. Salicylic acid, on the other hand, sluffs off the dead skin that covers and clogs your pores. They are both amazing treatments.

Salicylic acid works better for hormonal acne and benzoyl peroxide can kick those regular whiteheads and bumps so it may work in your favor to give both a try!

Both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can cause some intense dryness. To combat this, be sure to follow up your treatment with a facial skin friendly, unscented moisturizer. Try to find one that is alcohol free and as natural as possible to prevent any potential reactions with the treatment and medications you are using.

If you have any questions, a trip to the dermatologist is your best bet, as they can give you a customized and detailed rundown of what you need to do to clear up your skin safely and quickly. Good luck!