This medication is used to treat mild to moderate acne. It may be used in combination with other acne treatments. When applied to the skin, benzoyl peroxide works by reducing the amount of acne-causing bacteria and by causing the skin to dry and peel.
Check the ingredients on the label even if you have used the product before. The manufacturer may have changed the ingredients. Also, products with similar names may contain different ingredients meant for different purposes. Taking the wrong product could harm you.
Benzoyl Peroxide Benefits |
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start using this product and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Before using this product for the first time, check if you are allergic to it. To check, put a small amount on one or two small areas of acne for three days. If you have an allergic reaction, stop using this product and get medical help right away (see the symptoms of an allergic reaction in the Side Effects section). If you don’t have an allergic reaction, you can use the product.
How to Use Benzoyl Peroxide?
There are many benzoyl peroxide products available. Many can be purchased without a prescription. Some products (such as cleansers, foam, or lotions) may require a prescription. Consult your doctor or pharmacist on the choice of the product that is best for you. If you are using the over-the-counter product to self-treat, read and follow all directions on the product package before using this medication. If you have any questions, consult your pharmacist. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, use it as directed.
Some products require shaking before use. Check your product package to see if your form of this medication needs to be shaken.
Apply benzoyl peroxide to the areas of your skin affected by acne. Avoid getting this medication into your eyes, inside your nose or mouth, or on any areas of broken skin since it may cause irritation. If this occurs, flush the area with plenty of water. Benzoyl peroxide may bleach hair or fabrics. Use carefully, and avoid contact with hair, clothing, and furnishings.
- If using facial cleansers containing benzoyl peroxide, wet the affected area. Gently rub the cleanser into the skin for 10-20 seconds. Work into a full lather and rinse thoroughly and then pat dry. If too much drying occurs, you may need to rinse the cleanser off sooner or use it less often. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for further details.
- If you are using the liquid wash, cleansing pad, or cleanser bar, use it instead of soap once or twice a day. Wet the skin before applying, gently work up a lather for 10 to 20 seconds, and rinse thoroughly. Do not scrub the skin.
- If using the shaving cream, first wet the area to be shaved. Apply a small amount of the medication, gently rub into the area, and then shave.
- If you are using a cream, foam, lotion, or gel, apply it to the affected area as directed, usually once or twice a day. Before applying each dose, gently wash the affected area with a mild cleanser, then pat dry. Apply a small amount of medicine to the affected area and rub in gently. Some products may require rinsing off after application for a certain amount of time. Check your product package to see if your form of this medication needs to be rinsed off.
- If you are using the medicated pads or sponges, wash the affected skin with a mild cleanser, then pat dry. Wipe the pad or sponge gently onto the skin to apply the medication, usually once or twice a day to the skin as directed.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Improvement in acne is usually seen after 3 weeks of use, and maximum benefit after 8-12 weeks of use. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than directed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase.
Dr. Larry Jaeger is a board certified dermatologist who has a practice in New York. Dr Lawrence Jaeger specializes in the treatment of all skin, hair and nail disorders including all skin growths.