Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl Peroxide

Best used: AM Or PMCaution: Sensitive skin, rosaceaBest for: Acne

Best antibacterial compound around

Mode of action:

Oxidation of bacterial in pimples

Science Score:


What is the skin science behind benzoyl peroxide?

Benzoyl peroxide is used to treat acne.  It works as an antiseptic to reduce the number of bacteria that cause acne. It comes as a gel or face wash, gel, cream, or spot treatment. The most common formulations  contain 2.5 to 10% benzoyl peroxide. This powerful anti-acne medication is available over the counter.

Is benzoyl peroxide good for acne?

Benzoyl peroxide is an antimicrobial, meaning it helps reduce the amount of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. This leads to less zits, pimples, & pustules. 

Benzoyl peroxide also helps keep the pores clear from blockages & is one of the most commonly prescribed ingredients by skin care experts. Formulations such as Epiduo contain both benzoyl peroxide and retinol to provide a better long term solution for acne patients

What other acne treatments are there if BPO doesn’t clear my acne?

There are many different ways to clear up your acne including diet, BHA washes, AHA, BHA, retinol peels, lasers & LEDs. Dermatologists also employ anti-inflammatory medications, topicals & vitamin A derived prescriptions. The ideal treatment depends on your type of acne, lifestyle as well as goals & expectations. 


* Disclaimer: I am a procedural dermatologist, I do not treat acne, nor do I prescribe acne medications. Please discuss any acne issues with your doctor or dermatologist. 

How do I use benzoyl peroxide?

The most common formulation of benzoyl peroxide is a wash. A good starting concentration ranges from 2.5 to 5%. Select a lower concentration if you have sensitive or irritated skin. 



Wet the area you want to treat.

Place a small amount of BPO onto your hands.

Smooth it onto the affected areas including acne prone areas

Keep the wash on your skin for no more than 90 seconds.

Rinse your face thoroughly with water (double wash is fine)

Gently pat dry.

Moisturise within 90 minutes if you suffer dry or irritated skin.

Use once a day. If you have sensitive skin, start every second day

The MOST important factor is the ‘contact time’ of BPO; for the product to work you must leave it on for 60 to 90 seconds before washing off.

Benzoyl peroxide also comes in a gel, cream or spot treatment. Be guided by the product information guide; this will vary with manufacturers.

Davin’s Skin Protip on the use of BPO

This still remains as one of the best ingredients for the management of mild to moderate acne. The molecule itself has no bacterial resistance, unlike antibiotics which makes this a good long term solution for acne sufferers. The main side effect of BPO is skin irritation, hence it is super important to have a good, sensible skin care routine. BPO washes can be useful to cover large areas, such as bacne, truncal acne or even butt acne! Remember this is an oxidizing agent, so it can bleach coloured material (pillow cases for example).

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