Whether you've just started using benzoyl peroxide, or you're considering trying this acne treatment, you probably have questions. Get answers to some common questions about benzoyl peroxide, and learn how to get the best results from your treatment.
Benzoyl peroxide is a topical medication used to treat acne breakouts. It can be found in lotions, creams, gels, and even toner-like solutions.
In fact, you might have already used this acne-fighting ingredient. It's a common ingredient in over-the-counter acne products. But it's not just an OTC treatment. Benzoyl peroxide is also available by prescription. It's also included in many combination treatments, like:
- BenzaClin and Duac (both contain benzoyl peroxide and clindamycin)
- Benzamycin (benzoyl peroxide and erythromycin)
- Epiduo (benzoyl peroxide and adapalene)
Benzoyl peroxide is classified as an antimicrobial, which means it helps reduce the amount of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. Less bacteria means less breakouts.
Benzoyl peroxide, like many acne medications, can cause dryness and peeling. It can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so it's important that you wear sunscreen every day.
By starting off slowly, it's less likely that you will get really uncomfortable dryness and peeling.
Even if you start off carefully and slowly, you can expect to get dry. And possibly rough and flaky. There's no doubt benzoyl peroxide can be drying. It's normal.
You can manage this dryness, though. First, try using a moisturizer once or twice a day. You could even apply your moisturizer under the benzoyl peroxide to act as a sort of buffer between the medication and your skin.
Most people find their skin gets used to the benzoyl peroxide over time and the dry, peeling skin fades away.
Yes, the active ingredient in Proactiv is benzoyl peroxide. Proactiv broke ground as the first acne treatment kit (meaning a 3-step program rather than just one product) on the market. Some Proactiv products also contain ingredients like glycolic or salicylic acid.
But Proactiv isn't the only acne treatment regimen that contains benzoyl peroxide. Many other brands have followed in Proactiv's wake, so you have plenty of other choices if you're looking for an all-inclusive acne skin care kit. Many of these acne treatment products are less expensive than Proactiv, so you'll save some money.
But you don't need an all-inclusive kit. You can buy benzoyl peroxide cleansers and lotions on their own too.
Patience is a virtue, and this adage definitely applies to treating acne. Benzoyl peroxide, like all treatments, takes time to work. You may need to wait eight to 10 weeks or more before seeing a noticeable improvement in your skin.
As tempting as it may be, don't slather on more medication, or apply more often than directed. You'll increase your chances of annoying side effects.