Acne is a very common skin condition and it affects people of all genders and races. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), acne affects up to 50 million Americans every year. We all have this belief that acne only affects teens but there are also lots of adults who suffer from this skin concern. This condition is often brought about by hormonal changes, stress, unhealthy diets or a combination of all three. Thankfully though, we can now count on over-the-counter treatments to ease and prevent flare-ups of this condition. One effective antidote for acne is benzoyl peroxide. For more ideas on how this treatment works, please continue reading our guide.
- What does benzoyl peroxide do?
Answer: Benzoyl peroxide is one of the most effective and accessible acne treatments today. You can buy one without a prescription. Benzoyl peroxide though works well on pustules, which are inflamed, reddish pimples containing pus. It eliminates bacteria which sits under the skin. Benzoyl peroxide also removes dead skin cells and excess oil apart from treating acne.
- Who should not take benzoyl peroxide?
Answer: Benzoyl peroxide is quite strong so it’s not advised for people with sensitive skin. It is also more drying compared to salicylic acid—dry patches are one side effect of using this specific type of acne treatment. You also need to get advice from your dermatologist about benzoyl peroxide use if you have eczema, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. The medication can also stain fabric or clothing. It can bleach clothing so do not allow the medication to get in contact with dark-colored clothes, pillowcases, towels or bed sheets.
- When should I use benzoyl peroxide?
Answer: As mentioned earlier, benzoyl peroxide works best on pustules—these are inflammatory, reddish pimples filled with pus. The medication can also help ease cystic acne along with other suitable acne treatments. If you have cystic acne, it is best that you consult with your dermatologist first for the best options. While whiteheads and blackheads are technically referred to as acne, they are categorized as non-inflammatory, thus you need check treatment options that best suit such blemishes.
Our Top Picks
IMAGE Skincare Clear Cell Medicated Acne Lotion
- Kills pimple-causing bacteria
- Eases irritation
- Quick-acting physician-formulated treatment
- Includes peptides and botanical extracts
The IMAGE Skincare Clear Cell Medicated Acne Lotion contains an effective blend of benzoyl peroxide, botanical extracts and peptides to kill P. acnes, the bacteria which causes acne, help soothe and calm down irritation and redness and prevent the onset of new blemishes. The potent formula also controls excess oil which can clog pores and lead to more breakouts. The botanical extracts and peptides also help in fading acne spots and speedier cell turnover. This one is suitable for all acne grades.
Paula’s Choice CLEAR Regular Strength Skin Clearing Treatment
- Has 2.5% benzoyl peroxide
- Contains hydrating and soothing botanical extracts
- Safe for daily use
- Won’t dry the skin
Paula’s Choice CLEAR Regular Strength Skin Clearing Treatment is a spot treatment which is good for daily use, enriched with soothing and hydrating plant extracts together with 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide. It works well on skin types that are prone to blemishes whether oily, combination, normal or dry skin. It is also safe to use on cystic acne. The treatment is clear and remains transparent and matte once applied so you can use it even while in school or at work. It does not contain any parabens, fragrances and harsh ingredients that can further aggravate acne.
Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Treatment Gel
- Contains 10% benzoyl peroxide
- Fights acne
- Prevents breakouts
- Made for acne-prone skin
One of the most popular treatment options for pimples is Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Treatment Gel. The medication contains 10 percent benzoyl peroxide which combats acne—it decreases redness and size of stubborn acne in as fast as 2 hours. It works overtime to prevent future breakouts so you can have clearer skin. To prevent drying effects, begin with just one application everyday then increase 2-3 everyday gradually if need be or as recommended by your dermatologist.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Spot Treatment Cream
- Uses dual-action technology to fight acne
- Contains 5.5% micronized benzoyl peroxide
- Has LHA (lipo-hydroxy acid) for micro-exfoliation
- Non-drying and oil-free
La Roche-Posay us a popular skin care brand in France and many have commended the benefits of the company’s Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Spot Treatment Cream. The quick-absorbing, oil-free and non-drying formula includes 5.5 percent benzoyl peroxide for ridding the skin of acne paired with LHA (lipo-hydroxy acid) for meticulous micro-exfoliation and faster skin recovery and refinement. It is safe to use on all types of skin that experience blemishes, even sensitive ones. It does not leave any white residue and you only need a thin layer of the cream for it to work.
Acne Free Terminator 10 Acne Spot Treatment
- Quick-acting targeted acne treatment
- Contains 10% micronized benzoyl peroxide
- Includes ginger and chamomile
- Removes acne and blackheads
Acne Free Terminator 10 Acne Spot Treatment has a quick-acting formula that gets rid of stubborn spots and blackheads. It’s formulated with 10 percent micronized benzoyl peroxide to kill inflammatory acne and prevent new breakouts from happening. The formula also soothes due to the chamomile and ginger extracts thrown in the formula. These botanical extracts help in reducing redness and irritation which are caused by acne. Has lightweight formula and will not stain dark clothing.
DRMTLGY Acne Spot Treatment and Cystic Acne Treatment
- Treats acne and other blemishes
- Contains pure form 5% benzoyl peroxide
- Has 5% glycolic acid
- Won’t over-dry skin
The combo of 5% USP-grade benzoyl peroxide and 5% percent glycolic acid is what makes the DRMTLGY Acne Spot Treatment and Cystic Acne Treatment when it comes to treating all types of acne from pustules down to the cystic kind. The benzoyl peroxide of course fights the bacteria which causes such blemishes and prevent it from coming back while the glycolic acid, through the formula’s sugar cane extracts, exfoliates the skin for faster cell turnover and hasten fading of acne scars. This is a potent acne serum that absorbs fast, won’t leave a greasy, sticky feel and will not over-dry your skin.
Don’t feel too conscious of your acne—there are accessible, effective treatments which can help abate this condition, prevent future breakouts and even help diminish scarring. These are the benzoyl peroxide treatments that you should consider for such skin concerns.