If you have acne, chances are you have used benzoyl peroxide at some point. Benzoyl peroxide is found in many acne treatment products, both prescription and over-the-counter. Get the most out of your benzoyl peroxide treatment by following these simple tips.
1. Use a Moisturizer
Benzoyl peroxide will dry your skin. If you have super oily skin, you might actually welcome this drying -- no more oily shine. But many people find benzoyl peroxide leaves the skin uncomfortably dry and flaky. To counteract this, use a noncomedogenic moisturizer after cleansing. Just a dab is enough to keep your skin smooth.
2. Keep Away From Clothing, Towels, and Hair
Benzoyl peroxide acts like bleach, and will discolor everything it touches. Many people learn this the hard way, after ruining countless towels. Thoroughly rinse off benzoyl peroxide cleansers. Let benzoyl peroxide creams and lotions dry completely before dressing, or lying on your pillow at night. And always wash your hands well after using any benzoyl peroxide treatment.
If you have darker hair, you'll also want to keep benzoyl peroxide away from your hairline. Regular exposure can bleach your hair too.
3. Always Wear Sunscreen
Benzoyl peroxide can cause photosensitivity, or sensitivity to the sun. So during use you will be more prone to sun burn and sun damage. Too much sun time and you may find yourself with a nasty burn. And yes, you'll want to stay out of tanning beds as well.
Wear an oil-free sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 everyday. You'll protect yourself from skin cancer and premature aging. Today's sunscreens don't have much in common with the thick, smelly lotions of the past. Plenty of light, nongreasy sunscreens are available.
Don't like the thought of applying a separate sunscreen? Many moisturizers have SPF 15 or more. You can moisturize and get your sun protection in just one step.
4. Don't Use Benzoyl Peroxide with Other Acne Medications
Everyone wants their skin to clear up quickly, but layering on several different treatment products won't speed the process. It can cause severe redness, drying, peeling and flaking. Don't use benzoyl peroxide with other acne medications unless your doctor has recommended you do so.
In some cases, layering your medications can thwart your acne treatment. When applied at the same time, benzoyl peroxide essentially de-activates Retin-A (tretinoin). Probably not the result you're looking for. So again, whenever you're in doubt, ask your doctor first.