Benzoyl Peroxide Gel
This medication is used to treat mild to moderate acne. It may be used in combination with other acne treatments. When applied to the skin, benzoyl peroxide works by reducing the amount of acne-causing bacteria and by causing the skin to dry and peel.
Check the ingredients on the label even if you have used the product before. The manufacturer may have changed the ingredients. Also, products with similar names may contain different ingredients meant for different purposes. Taking the wrong product could harm you.
How to use Benzoyl Peroxide Gel
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start using this product and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Before using this product for the first time, check if you are allergic to it. To check, put a small amount on one or two small areas of acne for three days. If you have an allergic reaction, stop using this product and get medical help right away (see the symptoms of an allergic reaction in the Side Effects section). If you don’t have an allergic reaction, you can use the product.
There are many benzoyl peroxide products available. Many can be purchased without a prescription. Some products (such as cleansers, foam, or lotions) may require a prescription. Consult your doctor or pharmacist on the choice of the product that is best for you. If you are using the over-the-counter product to self-treat, read and follow all directions on the product package before using this medication. If you have any questions, consult your pharmacist. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, use it as directed.
Some products require shaking before use. Check your product package to see if your form of this medication needs to be shaken.
Apply benzoyl peroxide to the areas of your skin affected by acne. Avoid getting this medication into your eyes, inside your nose or mouth, or on any areas of broken skin since it may cause irritation. If this occurs, flush the area with plenty of water. Benzoyl peroxide may bleach hair or fabrics. Use carefully, and avoid contact with hair, clothing, and furnishings.
If using cleansers containing benzoyl peroxide, wet the affected area. Gently rub the cleanser into the skin for 10-20 seconds. Work into a full lather and rinse thoroughly and then pat dry. If too much drying occurs, you may need to rinse the cleanser off sooner or use it less often. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for further details.
If you are using the liquid wash, cleansing pad, or cleanser bar, use it instead of soap once or twice a day. Wet the skin before applying, gently work up a lather for 10 to 20 seconds, and rinse thoroughly. Do not scrub the skin.
If using the shaving cream, first wet the area to be shaved. Apply a small amount of the medication, gently rub into the area, and then shave.
If you are using a cream, foam, lotion, or gel, apply it to the affected area as directed, usually once or twice a day. Before applying each dose, gently wash the affected area with a mild cleanser, then pat dry. Apply a small amount of medicine to the affected area and rub in gently. Some products may require rinsing off after application for a certain amount of time. Check your product package to see if your form of this medication needs to be rinsed off.
If you are using the medicated pads or sponges, wash the affected skin with a mild cleanser, then pat dry. Wipe the pad or sponge gently onto the skin to apply the medication, usually once or twice a day to the skin as directed.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Improvement in acne is usually seen after 3 weeks of use, and maximum benefit after 8-12 weeks of use. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than directed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase.
If your condition persists or worsens, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, get medical help right away.
Benzoyl peroxide (BPO) is a medication and industrial chemical. As a medication it is used to treat mild to moderate acne. For more severe cases it may be used together with other treatments. Some versions come mixed with antibiotics such as clindamycin. Other uses include bleaching flour, hair bleaching, teeth whitening, and textile bleaching. It is also used in the plastic industry.
Common side effects are skin irritation, dryness, or peeling. Use in pregnancy is of unclear safety. Benzoyl peroxide is in the peroxide family of chemicals. In acne it works by killing bacteria.
Benzoyl peroxide was first made in 1905 and came into medical use in the 1930s. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system.Benzoyl peroxide is available as a generic medication and over the counter. In the United Kingdom 150 ml of a 10% solution costs the NHS about £4. In the United States a month of treatment costs less than 25 USD.
Benzoyl peroxide is effective for reducing the number and severity of acne lesions. BPO has a bactericidal effect on Propionibacterium acnes bacteria associated with acne and does not induce antibiotic resistance. It may be combined with salicylic acid, sulfur, erythromycin or clindamycin (antibiotics), or adapalene (a synthetic retinoid). Two common combination drugs include benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin and adapalene/benzoyl peroxide, an unusual formulation considering most retinoids are deactivated by peroxides. Combination products such as benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide/salicylic acid appear to be slightly more effective than benzoyl peroxide alone for the treatment of acne lesions.
Benzoyl peroxide for acne treatment is typically applied to the affected areas in gel, cream, or liquid, in concentrations of 2.5% increasing through 5.0%, and up to 10%. No strong evidence supports the idea that higher concentrations of benzoyl peroxide are more effective than lower concentrations.
Benzoyl peroxide commonly causes initial dryness and sometimes irritation, although the skin develops tolerance after a week or so. A small percentage of people are much more sensitive to it and liable to suffer burning, itching, crusting, and possibly swelling. It is sensible to apply the lowest concentration and build up as appropriate. Once tolerance is achieved, increasing the quantity or concentration and gaining tolerance at a higher level may give better subsequent acne clearance. Irritation can also be reduced by avoiding harsh facial cleansers and wearing sunscreen prior to sun exposure.