Topical Medicines: Benzyol Peroxide

Have you ever noticed that the people with the best skin barely touch it?  They certainly don’t wash, apply glycolic acid, apply benzyol peroxide, apply toner, apply moisturizer.  Most of the people I know with great skin don’t do any of these things.  Is their great skin genetic?  Or is it a series of subtle but important lifestyle choicse?  Probably some of both.  But one thing is certain: you can achieve great skin without using harsh topical medications.

Why Benzyol Peroxide isn’t the right choice:

Benzyol Peroxide is really bad for human skin skin.  It kills bacteria that you need, causes hyperpigmentation / skin bleaching / skin discoloration, makes skin far more sensitive to the sun, ages the skin, and over time, does God knows what else to it.  A product that makes skin look red, inflamed, and irritated is highly suspect..  Of course, the people who sell these various over-the-counter and prescription benzyol peroxide acne products are making billions.  They aren’t going to admit the product isn’t good for you; they do a lot to make you think you need it.  And they are right – to an extent.  Once your skin is addicted to some of these products, you can’t just quit using them without suffering.  Benzyol Peroxide kills the P. acnes bacteria (which are present in the same quantities in people without acne, a good clue that these aren’t really the primary culprit), but it kills all other bacteria on your skin, too, some of which secrete acids that your skin needs to breath.   Do you want to apply BP for the rest of your life, or do you want to follow a healthy, logical regimen that will handle acne on its own?  The choice is yours, but it seems easy to us.

That isn’t to say that Benzyol Peroxide isn’t an semi-effective short term acne treatment.  It is.  But at what cost?  Do you want to fry & dry your skin forever, for mixed results, when a series of basic lifestyle changes will boost your health and eliminate acne?  Most people who follow our system find it to be a viable Benzoyl Peroxide alternative.


How do I cure my Benzoyl Peroxide Addiction?

  • Many people who use Benzoyl Peroxide become addicted to the product because their skin is so dried out and damaged that the second any bacteria returns the immune system goes wild.  Here are some simple steps to quit using BP.   If you are unable to quit BP cold turkey, begin an 8 week cycle of an oral antibiotic for acne, such as minocycline.  After week 2, cut the BP back to once/day.  After week 4, cut the BP altogether.  Continue to moisturize until week 6.  After week 6, only moisturize as needed.  After week 8, you can quit taking the oral antibiotic and combined with the AcneResearch regimen, you should be acne free.

I’ve heard Benzoyl Peroxide causes skin aging.  Is this true?

  • There is a lot of speculation about Benzoyl Peroxide aging the skin.  Some argue that BP unleashes free radicals, which age the skin and increase cancer rates.  There is little science to back up this claim, however, and most of the sites putting forth this notion are in the business of selling products without Benzoyl Peroxide.  A more valid argument is that using Benzoyl Peroxide for years at a time leads to perpetually dry skin, which causes premature aging and wrinkling.  Again, this is an unproven notion but if you look at people whose occupations lead to dry skin (fishing boat captains, for example), their skin does seem overly aged.

Does Benzoyl Peroxide increase my sun sensitivity?  I think I burn more easily when I use this product

  • Almost all topical acne products make your skin more sensitive to the sun.  This occurs via complex mechanisms, but from a simple perspective, these products tend to cause the top layer of skin to peel off.  Thin skin is more easily damaged by the sun.  All topical acne users are recommended to use sun screen, which presents it’s own set of problems – once again, you are putting more chemicals on your skin and you never know how the skin is going to react. Anything you put on your skin has the potential to clog a pore, harbor bacteria, or antagonize the immune system.

Does Benzoyl Peroxide cause cancer?

  • According to this study, ‘Based on the current data, the cancer risk associated with the use of BPO and BPO-clin in sun-exposed areas is minimal.’  Regardless, extreme caution should be taken with any product that increases the skin’s likelihood to burn, as increased frequency of skin burning is believed to increase cancer rates.

Is Benzoyl Peroxide illegal in Europe?

  • Benzoyl Peroxide is not illegal in Europe, but it is not available as an over-the-counter acne treatment.  Your must have a prescription.

Is Benzoyl Peroxide Safe?

  • The FDA has changed its opinion on BP several times, but it’s latest statement issued in 2010 is:  We, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are issuing this final rule to include benzoyl peroxide as a generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE) active ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) topical acne drug products. This does not guarantee that BP does not have long term side effects, but this ruling combined with Benzoyl Peroxide being far and away the most widely used acne treatment is a good indication that using the product is not highly risky.

Is Benzoyl Peroxide safe to use while pregnant?

  • There is not a lot of testing available in this area.  In general, it is best to avoid using any chemicals that are absorbed into the body while pregnant.

Benzyol peroxide is toxic in mice (“Our results show that BPO and the combination of BPO and clindamycin do not accelerate photocarcinogenesis, but are toxic in hairless mice”)

1 Reply to “Topical Medicines: Benzyol Peroxide”

  1. I am unable to find any peer-reviewed published data supporting that benzoyl peroxide contributes to skin aging. My own experience, after 32 years of continued use of prescription-strength topical benzoyl peroxide is that people guess my age to be 10-15 years younger than I am. It is considered to be safe during use during pregnancy and lactation since it is rapidly converted to benzoic acid and oxygen when absorbed. It is the “gold standard” and most cost-effective treatment for mild to moderate acne. Furthermore, unlike antibiotics, it does not contribute to drug-resistant bacteria. I think this is a very biased and probably dangerous position you are taking.

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