A common ingredient for treating acne, benzoyl peroxide helps clears acne pimples and prevent new acne blemishes from forming. This ingredient also penetrates pores to reduce the severity of acne pimples and allows skin to heal.

Important Things to Know about Benzoyl Peroxide

  • Benzoyl peroxide can be found in a range of concentrations in a variety of acne-fighting skincare treatments, including cleansers, lotions and spot treatments. A benzoyl peroxide cleanser is an effective first step of any skincare regimen to help clear blackheads and other acne blemishes while allowing your skin to heal.

  • Whether you experience occasional acne flare-ups or ongoing breakouts, benzoyl peroxide can help when used as part of a daily skincare routine. A product with a low concentration is generally well-tolerated and poses less risk of irritation without compromising effectiveness.2

  • Benzoyl peroxide has been shown to be effective on its own; however, its acne-fighting benefits may be enhanced when combined with other acne treatments.3 In addition, if you have acne, you may also have other skin concerns, such as post-acne marks, and choosing a product containing retinol can help refine the appearance of your skin’s tone and texture. When using benzoyl peroxide for acne, it can be helpful to incorporate a moisturizer or other skincare products that are formulated with ingredients such as ceramides to help maintain the skin’s barrier along with niacinamide for soothing benefits. The key for clear skin is using a gentle yet effective anti-acne treatment and an appropriate skincare regimen—and using them consistently.

  • Daily sun protection is an essential part of every skincare regimen. In addition to applying sunscreen every day, 365 days a year, it’s important to reapply it, as needed, while you're spending extended periods of time in the sun. When using benzoyl peroxide for acne, it’s best to be especially careful about sun protection.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed benzoyl peroxide to be both safe and effective for the treatment of acne.4 However, it’s important to avoid getting benzoyl peroxide in your eyes, nose and mouth, or areas of broken skin to avoid irritation. (If this occurs, flush the area with water.) Benzoyl peroxide may bleach hair or fabrics, so it’s best to be careful when applying it around the hairline and mindful of your towels and bedding.

  • Both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can be effective for helping to prevent and minimize acne, however these ingredients work differently. Benzoyl peroxide works to minimize the bacteria that play a role in acne breakouts,5 while salicylic acid helps prevent pores from becoming clogged with dead cells by promoting the skin’s natural exfoliation process.6 Dermatologists commonly recommend both of these ingredients to improve acne, so you can try either (or both) to see what works best for your skin.

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