Topic Overview

Benzoyl peroxide is a medicine you use to treat
acne. It comes in different strengths in lotions,
gels, soaps, and liquids.

How does benzoyl peroxide treat acne?

Benzoyl peroxide unclogs skin pores.
It also helps stop bacteria from growing and causing acne pimples and
cystic lesions.

At first, acne may get
worse. Your skin may get red and peel. It’s not a quick fix. You may need to
use the product for as long as 4 to 6 weeks before your acne starts

Does it have side effects?

Side effects of benzyl peroxide for some people

  • Dry or peeling skin.
  • Skin that feels warm.
  • Tingling or slight stinging.

While using a product that contains benzoyl peroxide, call a
doctor if you develop:

  • A
    rash or itching.
  • Blisters or a burning feeling.
  • Redness.
  • Swelling.

Who should not use this product?

Talk to a doctor before allowing a child younger
than 12 to use a product that contains benzoyl peroxide.

Where can I get benzoyl peroxide?

You can buy products that contain benzoyl
peroxide in the grocery store or pharmacy. Look at the outside package to find
products that have benzoyl peroxide as the active ingredient. Strengths range
from 2.5% to 10% benzoyl peroxide. Start with the lowest strength to see how
your skin reacts. Brand names include Brevoxyl and Triaz.

Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not
available in all systems.)

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Decision Points focus on key medical care decisions that are important to many health problems.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Ellen K. Roh, MD – Dermatology

Current as ofOctober 5, 2017