Benefits: Benzoyl peroxide is a topical medication that kills acne-causing bacteria both on the surface of the skin and deep in pores. By reducing the number of bacteria in and around the skin, it can eliminate whiteheads and larger pimples and kill acne even deep below the surface of the skin. Benzoyl peroxide is a strong antibacterial medication that has been proven to reduce the frequency of breakouts through the ability to destroy inflammatory acne.
A large 2020 meta-analysis published in Cochrane Library looked at almost 30,000 participants and found that benzoyl peroxide is much more effective than a placebo in treating acne vulgaris.
Use: Benzoyl peroxide can be used in a cleanser. It should be used once or twice a day, depending on your provider’s recommendations and suggested use on label. Benzoyl peroxide is often used to treat facial, back, and other bodily acne.
Concentration: Concentrations can range from 1% to over 10% depending on tolerance and previous use. Benzoyl peroxide at concentrations of 3-5% work just as well for facial acne as higher concentrations of 10% or more. Sticking to around a 5% facial concentration decreases the chances of potential dryness and irritation. For acne on the chest and back, a higher 10% bodily concentration is recommended.
Results: Benzoyl peroxide takes two or more weeks to see results.