Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) is a Keratolytic and antibacterial medication that is widely used as an acne treatment. Benzoyl Peroxide is an active ingredient in many different kinds of Over-The-Counter (OTC) and Pharmaceutical acne treatments. Benzoyl Peroxide is a very common ingredient in face washes and pimple creams. Benzoyl Peroxide is generally safe and can be a helpful treatment for many individuals with acne, particularly those with mild to moderate acne symptoms (Acne Types: 1-2).
Benzoyl Peroxide has two complementary mechanisms of action that make it a useful acne treatment. Benzoyl Peroxide is a Keratolytic medication that helps prevent the formation of clogged pores by breaking down the outermost layer of the skin (epidermis). Benzoyl Peroxide is also an antibacterial agent that can directly kill acne-causing bacteria, such as P. acnes. When Benzoyl Peroxide comes into contact with the skin it breaks down into benzoic acid and oxygen, which are toxic to many types of bacteria.
Extensive research has shown that Benzoyl Peroxide can be a beneficial treatment for many people suffering from mild-to moderate, non-inflammatory acne (Acne Types: 1-2). However, because of its limited penetration into the skin, Benzoyl Peroxide is largely ineffective in treating cystic and nodular forms of acne (Acne Types: 3-4). Benzoyl Peroxide is commonly combined with antibiotics (eg. Clindamycin, Erythromycin) in prescription topical medications. Topical use of Benzoyl Peroxide is often combined with complementary acne treatments (eg. Antibiotics, Retinoids, Light & Laser Treatments, Naturopathic Treatments) as part of a comprehensive acne treatment regimen.
Most people tolerate Benzoyl Peroxide treatment well with minimal side effects. Common side effects of Benzoyl Peroxide treatment include dry skin, flaking, redness and sensitivity. The risk of side effects is greater when medications that contain Benzoyl Peroxide are used excessively or at higher dosages. Benzoyl Peroxide is also a potent bleaching agent, and contact with clothes or furniture can cause permanent bleach damage.