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Is Benzoyl Peroxide Good for Acne? (Does It Really Work?)

If you've ever found yourself in the skincare aisle or browsing online for acne treatment products, you've likely come across one ingredient time and time again: benzoyl peroxide. This begs the question, "Is benzoyl peroxide good for acne?"

This blog post aims to delve into the science behind benzoyl peroxide, how it works on acne, and what you can expect when including it in your skincare routine.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Benzoyl peroxide is a potent acne-fighting ingredient that kills acne-causing bacteria, reduces excess oil, and helps shed dead skin cells.

  • Benzoyl peroxide can be used alone or with other treatments like salicylic acid and topical retinoids to effectively manage acne.

  • While generally safe, benzoyl peroxide may cause some side effects, such as skin irritation and dryness, and it's essential to start with lower concentrations and adjust as needed.

  • Exposed Skin Care provides a comprehensive approach to managing acne, offering a range of products that combine scientific and natural ingredients to tackle acne and other skin conditions effectively.

Cropped of woman using Benzoyl Peroxide and cotton pad

What is Benzoyl Peroxide?

Benzoyl peroxide is a powerful active ingredient that has been a mainstay in acne treatments for many years. Its primary function is to treat acne, but it does so in multiple ways.

It's a bactericidal substance that kills bacteria directly, specifically the acne-causing bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). Moreover, it can peel off dead skin cells, preventing them from clogging pores and leading to acne lesions.

Benzoyl Peroxide Works in Acne Management

Fighting Acne-Causing Bacteria

One of the primary ways benzoyl peroxide treats acne is by eliminating P. acnes. The antimicrobial effects of benzoyl peroxide make it an effective treatment against this acne-causing bacteria. The bactericidal property of benzoyl peroxide makes it a potent weapon in the acne treatment paradigm.

Reducing Excess Oil

Benzoyl peroxide also helps by reducing excess oil on the skin, another factor contributing to acne. It's common to find benzoyl peroxide in face washes and cleansers designed to control oil and prevent acne.

Shedding Dead Skin Cells

As a keratolytic agent, benzoyl peroxide promotes the shedding of dead skin cells. This action unclogs pores, preventing the formation of comedones that can lead to inflammatory acne lesions.

How to Use Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne Treatment

Topical benzoyl peroxide is typically available over the counter in forms such as a benzoyl peroxide gel, benzoyl peroxide cleanser, or benzoyl peroxide wash. For more severe cases of acne, prescription medications containing higher concentrations of benzoyl peroxide may be necessary.

Choosing the Right Product

First, choosing a benzoyl peroxide product that suits your skin type is crucial. A benzoyl peroxide cleanser or face wash may be more suitable for oily skin, while a benzoyl peroxide gel might be better for dry skin.

Woman choosing in aisle of skin care products

Applying the Product

To use benzoyl peroxide, apply a thin layer to the affected area after cleansing with a mild cleanser. Remember, benzoyl peroxide may cause skin irritation, so it's essential to start with a low concentration and gradually increase as your skin builds tolerance.

Consistency is Key

Using benzoyl peroxide consistently is critical for seeing results. While it might not clear your acne overnight, a dedicated skincare routine with benzoyl peroxide can significantly improve your skin over time.

Protecting Your Skin

Benzoyl peroxide can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Therefore, don't forget to apply sunscreen and wear protective clothing when going out.

The Power of Benzoyl Peroxide in Combination Therapy

Another facet where benzoyl peroxide shines is in combination with other acne treatments. In the family of acne treatment products, benzoyl peroxide gets along well with several others.

Young beautiful woman looking at her face skin with different skin care products

Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is another common ingredient in acne treatment. It exfoliates the skin, helping to remove dead skin cells. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can create an effective duo against acne when used together.

Benzoyl Peroxide and Topical Retinoids

Topical retinoids are also commonly used in acne treatment. These products work by preventing the formation of new comedones. They can offer an effective solution for moderate to severe acne when used alongside benzoyl peroxide.

Benzoyl Peroxide Vs. Other Treatments

Benzoyl Peroxide Vs. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a natural alternative for treating acne. While studies show that tea tree oil has antibacterial properties against P. acnes, benzoyl peroxide is more effective and works faster in reducing acne lesions.

Benzoyl Peroxide Vs. Salicylic Acid

Both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are popular choices in acne treatments. While salicylic acid works to exfoliate the skin and unclog pores, benzoyl peroxide goes a step further by killing acne-causing bacteria.

A dropper bottle of transparent face serum

Potential Side Effects of Benzoyl Peroxide

While benzoyl peroxide is generally safe for most people, it may cause some side effects. Some users may experience skin irritation, dryness, or peeling skin. Allergic reactions to benzoyl peroxide are rare but possible, presenting as severe skin irritation or red bumps.

Does Benzoyl Peroxide Get Rid of Acne?

Given its ability to kill bacteria, reduce excess oil, and shed dead skin cells, benzoyl peroxide is an effective tool in the fight against acne. Consistent use of benzoyl peroxide can significantly reduce both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions.

Everyone's skin responds differently to acne treatments; the same goes for benzoyl peroxide. Some may notice an improvement in as little as five days, while for others, it might take several weeks to see noticeable changes.

For most people, using benzoyl peroxide daily is safe and can be beneficial for treating acne. However, starting with a lower concentration is essential to avoid potential skin irritation and increase gradually as your skin adjusts.

Benefits of Using Exposed Skin Care for Acne Management

Exposed Skin Care is an acclaimed line of acne products that combines science and nature to combat various skin conditions, particularly acne.

Exposed Skin Care Basic Kit

Incorporating it into your skincare routine comes with several benefits:

  • Comprehensive Care: Exposed Skin Care offers a full range of products from cleansers and toners to spot treatments and serums. This allows you to build a complete skincare routine that addresses acne at every stage.

  • Combination of Ingredients: The products are formulated with a powerful blend of proven scientific and natural ingredients. These work in synergy to clear existing acne and prevent new breakouts.

  • Suitable for Different Skin Types: Whether your skin is oily, dry, or a combination, Exposed Skin Care products are designed to work without leaving your skin dry or causing a negative reaction.

  • Addresses Other Skin Concerns: Besides tackling acne, Exposed Skin Care also helps with other skin conditions like blackheads, whiteheads, and post-acne marks.

  • Prevents Acne Scars: By treating acne effectively, Exposed Skin Care minimizes the risk of acne scars, leaving your skin clear and healthy-looking.

Exposed Skin Care provides a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to managing acne, making it an excellent choice for individuals battling this common skin condition. With its careful blend of science and nature, it promises to treat acne and foster healthier, clearer skin overall.


The verdict is clear: benzoyl peroxide is a powerful treatment against acne. Its multifaceted approach—targeting acne-causing bacteria, reducing excess oil, and promoting the shedding of dead skin cells—makes it a cornerstone in acne management.

Whether used alone or combined with other treatments like salicylic acid or topical retinoids, it provides an effective solution for various acne types. However, it's crucial to remember that while generally safe, potential side effects such as skin irritation or dryness might occur, and starting with lower concentrations is recommended.

For a comprehensive skincare regimen, consider products like Exposed Skin Care that blend scientific and natural ingredients to tackle acne and various skin conditions, promising healthier, clearer skin overall.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Is benzoyl peroxide good for cystic acne?
A: Yes, benzoyl peroxide can treat cystic acne because it kills acne-causing bacteria and reduces inflammation.

Q: Can benzoyl peroxide cause skin irritation?
A: Yes, benzoyl peroxide can cause skin irritation, especially at higher concentrations or in those with sensitive skin.

Q: Can I apply benzoyl peroxide on my acne scars?
A: Benzoyl peroxide is mainly used to treat active acne. For acne scars, other treatments may be more effective.

Q: Can I use benzoyl peroxide with other acne treatments?
A: Benzoyl peroxide can be used alongside other acne treatments, such as salicylic acid and topical retinoids. However, it's essential to monitor your skin for potential irritation.

Q: Can benzoyl peroxide help with blackheads and whiteheads?
A: By promoting the shedding of dead skin cells and reducing oil, benzoyl peroxide can help prevent and treat black and whiteheads.