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Written for dermatologists by dermatologists. Indexed by the US National Library of Medicine.
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Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide has been used for acne skin care for over 30 years and is now available in a product that combines it with antibiotics. It is available in different forms including a skin cleanser (especially for your face), cream, gel, and a lotion.

How Do I Use This Medication?

You should apply it daily, initially to dry the skin. Use it in small quantities over all of the affected area.

How Well Does It Work?

It is the most commonly used anti-acne topical medication, and works well for mild to moderate acne. It is available in drying alcohol bases, or in the less drying water bases. It can be effectively combined with a topical antibiotic. The response is slow and takes several months, so you should not expect immediate improvement. It is antibacterial, and also reduces some sebum, resulting in fewer blackheads.

Will There Be Side Effects?

It may irritate your skin producing dryness, redness, and peeling.

To counteract these side effects:

  • Use small quantities every other day
  • Apply to dry skin (as opposed to wet skin - use your towel)
  • Use gentle facial cleansers
  • Use light moisturizers
  • The product may also bleach hair, and clothing

Can I Take Other Medications?

There are no known drug interactions. However, you should be careful when using this product together with other drying anti-acne medications.

Which Brands Are Available?

  • Benzoyl Peroxide - OTC Brands (5% or less)
  • BenOxyl® 5%, PanOxyl® Aquagel 2.5% and 5%, PanOxyl® Bar 5%, PanOxyl® 5% Gel, Panoxyl® 5% Wash, PanOxyl® 4% Creamy Wash, Solugel® 4% - Stiefel
  • BenzacAC®, BenzacW®, BenzacWwash® - Galderma
  • Benzagel® - Novartis
  • Clearasil® - Procter & Gamble
  • Dermoxyl® - ICN
  • Desquam® - Westwood
  • Clean+Clear® - Johnson & Johnson
  • Oxy® - Glaxo Smith Kline Beechum
  • Acetoxyl® Gel (2.5% and 5%) - Valeo Pharma
Combinations:
  • Benzamycin® BP + erythromycin (Dermik)
  • BenzaClin® BP + clindamycin (Dermik)
  • CLINDOXYL® BP + clindamycin (Stiefel)

What Other Conditions Are Treated By This Medication?

HPB-approved:

  • Acne
Non HPB-approved:

Uses for which this drug has been found to be effective, but which have not been recognized by government regulatory agencies:
  • Pressure ulcers and stasis ulcers in some countries