How To Treat Acne With Benzoyl Peroxide While Taking Right Precautions

how to treat acne benzoyl peroxHow To Treat Acne Using Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide (BP) is an antibacterial and antimicrobial substance used in acne treatments products or medication. Other than for how to treat acne, BP’s other uses are for improving flour, bleaching hair and teeth, and for the chemistry process called polymerization.

How To Treat Acne Using Skin Care And Acne Products with BP

Since this is a ‘skin site’ let’s start by looking at how BP is used for skin, like for how to treat acne.

In chemistry, BP is a radical or free radical substance that is chemically highly reactive. It also acts as an oxidizing agent (corrosive – as bleaching agent). On the other hand because it is also antibacterial, it is widely used to be applied on skin for how to treat acne.

As for how to treat acne, you will find BP in over-the-counter or in prescriptive creams, lotions, gels, cleansers, etc in concentrations of 2.5% – 5% – 10%.

It may be helpful for you to know that research has shown that 5% and 10% are not necessarily better or more effective than 2.5%. And your skin can usually tolerate 2.5% better than higher percentages.

For more info on the percentages of BP, here is a link that could give a better idea… – 
Title: Comparing 2.5%, 5%, and 10% benzoyl peroxide on inflammatory acne vulgaris.

Let’s also take a look at this case report: A study done in 1977 using 5% and 10% BP on humans showed 76% showed skin sensitivity and adverse effects.

In line with that, although our skin should be able to tolerate small percentages of BP (found in almost all acne treatment products and prescriptions), there have been many cases of the skin experiencing negative reactions like burning, peeling, flaking, extreme dryness and swelling – and in some cases, caused acne cysts – and many need to know how to treat acne with BP ‘properly’.

When first applying something with a BP substance, the skin may react negatively (severity really differs from skin to skin or person to person). Your skin may itch, become too dry, peel, become flaky…but after a week or two, your skin may be OK, once it begins to tolerate BP.

So, yes, there have been ‘successful’ cases of people ‘cured’ from acne using BP – given time while you need to monitor your skin’s reaction or tolerance to BP. According to surveys and feedback from users, some acne sufferers:

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    • Gradually are cleared of acne as their skin (given time) is able to tolerate BP and their skin stays cleared of acne for a long time, as continuous use of BP keeps acne under control (not cured of acne)
    • Are gradually cleared of acne – as in scenario no.1 – but after some time, when their skin is immune to BP, BP becomes less effective. And this is usually followed by a more serious breakout of acne than before. In some cases, skin may be scarred due to acne cysts
    • Are allergic or sensitive to BP and experience adverse and some extreme negative effects of BP and in some cases, skin is scarred. 
    • Have tried BP but no ‘real changes’ on their acne condition – just skin becoming irritatingly dry but no serious effects.


So there are reports saying continued or prolonged use of BP showed the skin getting ‘immune’ to it causing acne to resurface – here it means the root cause is still ‘beneath or inside us’.

Since BP can only treat acne at the surface, as soon as you stop using BP or use it so much or so long that your skin is tolerant to BP, and eventually immune to BP, high chances are acne ‘returns’.

And when acne resurfaces, it is usually much worse than before and usually with acne cysts (big, red, sore bumps) that as users shared “are the zits that make me cry” and “it’s like acne taking revenge”.

And a friend shared, “I mean it’s not just my skin ugly or painful. It’s torture to go up so excited and happy and then I hit the ground so bad…”

Although we can know how to treat acne with BP, there are side effects and prolong usage is often needed.

I think many of us kind of know how to treat acne with BP and the side effects of BP (?), yet it has been used for a long, long time to treat acne.

How To Treat Acne By Applying BP ‘Properly’

So if any of you decide to go ahead with any BP induced acne treatment product, according to a report, it is strongly advisable to start by applying just a very thin layer, once a day, to affected areas on your skin.

When you see your skin can bear with BP, you may gradually increase its dosage or frequency. And as BP kills acne causing bacteria, it gradually clears your acne.

Therefore, for how to treat acne using BP, start ‘small’ and once a day.

And BP is proven to be effective in killing and ‘suppressing’ acne causing bacteria and when it is effective this way, the healing process (like the changes or ‘good results’ you see on your skin) is relatively quicker than say, ‘natural methods’.

Remember too, on how to treat acne using BP – use a good, oil-free moisturizer (prevent dryness) and use sunscreen when you go out (protect from sun exposure).

Even better, always see a dermatologist and doctor – before using anything on your skin or taking any medication or supplements.

Do note though, because BP is topical (only for external application on the skin), it clears acne but does not kill the root cause of acne – which is the ‘how clean, how functional and how healthy’ your insides are and the ‘state or stability’ of your hormones – at the end of the day, research have also shown those are the root cause of acne, apart from genetics.

Other than how to treat acne, BP is also used for bleaching…

When I read that, logically, the first thing that pops up in my head is – why would or should I use a bleaching agent on my face? Bleaching agent on my face or any part of my skin just does not make sense…whether or not I have acne. Are there really no better ways?

According to research, higher concentrations (I assume above 10%) BP is also used for dyeing hair, for whitening teeth, for flour preparation or other bleaching purposes. In higher concentrations, it becomes a powerful ‘bleacher’. And if you get this bleach on your clothes, fabric, hair, etc the stain is permanent. Even secondary contact causes bleaching.

So again I ask myself, “why would I use something with a bleaching agent on my face, when I can get better, more natural and definitely safer alternatives out there”, and acne is not a ‘fast relief’ thing – and we should also get our insides ‘properly sorted out’ while treating and caring for our acne skin outside.

Benzoyl Peroxide and Skin Tumor

According to a Benzaclin Patient info leaflet – “For carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility: BP has been shown to be a tumor promoter and progression agent in a number of animal studies. The clinical significance of this is unknown.”

One study – BP in acetone at doses of 5mg and 10mg administered twice per week induced skin tumors in transgenic Tg.AC mice in a study using 20 weeks of topical treatment.

This is just for you info, 10mg of straight BP for a 100g mouse is like a 60kg person using 6g of BP – this is more than the whole tube okay. Maybe like 60 tubes of 10% concentration at once per day for 20 weeks – if the study was about 100% BP in acetone on these mice. And can’t really be sure if it was BP alone or with acetone, that induced the tumors.

The key point, BP makes your skin more prone to sun damage (so you need to use moisturizer and sunscreen) but its carcinogenicity in humans, is still unknown.

The concern for many people about this is because to keep acne at bay or controlled, BP must be used as long as you want acne controlled – unless your skin becomes immune, is sensitive or is allergic to BP, the case and affect is different.

Because of necessary prolong use, the question of whether BP links to skin tumor or cancer is there…

Maybe this may be of some consolation (for those who want to use BP induced acne treatment solutions) – FDA has classified BP’s safety as Class 3 (Safety Unknown) but latest FDA updates are BP is classified Class 1 – this simply means it is OK to use BP so long as product labels state clearly the precautions to take when using a product with BP (this is required by FDA).

The BP precautions that are required to be stated on product labels are:

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    • Avoiding unnecessary sun exposure
    • Not using BP on sensitive and allergy prone skin
    • Keep away from eyes, lips and mouth
    • Cautioning that BP may bleach hair and dye fabric
    • Use sunscreen when going out


Important Note : If medication or product cause skin irritations, discontinue use and see your doctor or skin specialist. Otherwise start with small amount (apply just a thin layer) or less frequency (start with once a day). Increase amount and frequency gradually as you see your skin tolerating this medication or product.

With this write up, I hope you get a clearer picture to help you make informed decisions about how to treat acne with BP and whether or not to use BP or non-BP acne treatment products or solutions.

If you so choose to use an acne treatment product(s) with BP, do practice the precautions like using sunscreen, etc and keep your skin properly moisturized (avoid dryness). – most importantly for how to treat acne, to play safe, start ‘small’, let your skin get to tolerate BP, then gradually increase use of BP on your skin.

Otherwise, another alternative for how to treat acne…

As many users have experienced, opting for natural and non-BP acne treatment solutions and products have cleared their acne skin, without adverse side effects – though may take a longer time.

And those who treated their acne problem ‘inside-out’, fighting acne at its root cause, good and lasting results have shown.  The added bonus – their overall health, hair and skin improved dramatically.

PS: Get better informed – Have you signed up to claim your FREE Acne Report ?

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