Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) is a very effective Over-The-Counter (OTC) topical acne treatment, fighting acne-specific bacteria. Most retinoids negate the effect of BPO, so use BPO and retinoids in rotation for best results. A best practice with this ingredient is to incorporate it slowly (every other night) into your skincare routine, as skin can adjust to tolerate BPO gradually. This may minimize the potential for redness and dryness when using BPO.Used in topical acne washes and creams, it reduces inflammation and kills bacteria that lead to breakouts. An active ingredient against acne, benzoyl peroxide can kill the type of bacteria that’s often responsible for inflamed acne. Benzoyl peroxide can also irritate or dry out skin, so it’s important to also use a moisturizer when you’re using it.An acne medicine that kills pimple-causing bacteria and exfoliates pores. It can be found in concentrations up to 10 percent in over-the-counter products.Benzoyl peroxide is a chemical compound (specifically, an organic peroxide) with structural formula (C6H5−C(=O)O−)2, often abbreviated as (BzO)2. In terms of its structure, the molecule can be described as two benzoyl (C6H5−C(=O)−, Bz) groups connected by a peroxide (−O−O−). It is a white granular solid with a faint odour of benzaldehyde, poorly soluble in water but soluble in acetone, ethanol, and many other organic solvents. Benzoyl peroxide is an oxidizer, which is principally used as in the production of polymers. Benzoyl peroxide was first prepared and described by Liebig in 1858. It was the first organic peroxide prepared intentionally.
In 1901, J. H. Kastle and his graduate student A. S. Loevenhart observed that the compound made the tincture of guaiacum tincture turn blue, a sign of oxygen being released. Around 1905, Loevenhart reported on the successful use of BPO to treat various skin conditions, including burns, chronic varicose leg tumors, and tinea sycosis. He also reported animal experiments that showed the relatively low toxicity of the compound.
Treatment with benzoyl peroxide was proposed for wounds by Lyon and Reynolds in 1929, and for sycosis vulgaris and acne varioliformis by Peck and Chagrin in 1934. However, preparations were often of questionable quality. It was officially approved for the treatment of acne in the US in 1960. Benzoyl peroxide is effective for treating acne lesions. It 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, adapalene being a chemically stable retinoid that can be combined with benzoyl peroxide unlike tezarotene and tretinoin. 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. The combination tretinoin/benzoyl peroxide was approved for medical use in the United States in 2021.
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%.
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