Benzoyl peroxide works by destroying p.acnes, the bacteria that contribute to the acne condition. Benzoyl peroxide acts as an antiseptic (killing bacteria) and oxidizing agent. By providing oxygen to the follicles it kills p.acne bacteria, which need an oxygen free environment to survive.
While benzoyl peroxide kills existing p.acne bacteria, it does not increase your body's natural resistance to bacteria. This means that even when your acne breakouts subside, you should keep treating acne-prone areas. Benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria, but it does not affect oil (sebum) production or the rate at which the body sheds scale (dead skin cells). Another challenge of using Benzoyl peroxide is that if you stop using it, the bacteria - and your acne - will return.
Benzoyl peroxide is available in a wide range of gels, creams, lotions and cleansers in non-prescription concentrations of 2.5%, 5% and 10%.
The most common side effect of Benzoyl peroxide is dryness. The dryness is usually mild, but if skin appears visibly scaly, apply a light oil-free moisturizer.
•Some patients may experience irritation when using benzoyl peroxide. If you experience mild irritation, try decreasing the frequency of applixation. If irritation is severe or persists, discontinue use of benzoyl peroxide.
•Contact dermatitis (red, dry, itchy skin) occurs in some patients using benzoyl peroxide and can be due to irritation or allergy to the medication. If dermatitis occurs, discontinue use immediately and contact your acne physician.
•1-2% of the patient population experiences a mild allergic reaction to benzoyl peroxide. This is usually characterized by itching and redness.
•Benzoyl peroxide creates free radicals and is known to cause premature skin aging, just like repeated sun exposure or persistent acne. Damage is determined by the concentration of benzoyl peroxide and the frequency and duration of use. While moderate to severe acne will cause the skin to age quickly, the use of benzoyl peroxide will significantly increase this speed.
Because Benzoyl Peroxide (BP) generates free radicals it interferes with and slows the healing process. The red and brown marks that are a part of the acne healing process may last weeks longer when BP is a regular part of the daily regimen.
Benzoyl Peroxide is commonly used to treat mild acne topically. It consists of two parts benzoyl and one part peroxide. It is a strong bleaching agent, therefore when applied to hair or fabrics, can be decolorized immediately.
Benzoyl peroxide has three basic properties. It can be used as an effective antiseptic, an oxidizing agent or as an anti-inflammatory. It has the ability to reduce the number of skin surface bacteria, as well as reduce yeast on the surface of the skin. For these reasons, it is most effective in the treatment of acne. When used for this purpose, it is most often in the form of gel or cream with a concentration of 10% or less. It is advised to use in small amounts, as it has a high drying agent. Some people have been found to have allergic reactions to this chemical. For these people, it is recommended to use in very small quantities then gradually increase use. If allergies continue to persist, a gel with 2.5% concentration is also available. This product has been shown to be just as effective as the 10% concentrated form.