Acne treatment may be problematic and may include a number of topical and oral treatments. Benzoyl peroxide can be used as a topical remedy for acne flare ups, being an efficient antiseptic. However, benzoyl peroxide also has corrosive effects, so the products should be used with great caution.
Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne
Benzoyl peroxide is a chemical that belongs to the group of peroxides. The compound can interact with the skin and will break down in oxygen and benzoic acid, having various effects. Benzoyl peroxide has antiseptic effects, so it can be used in patients with acne flare ups.
There are several acne gels and creams that contain up to 10% benzoyl peroxide, which will reduce the acne and may prevent future flare ups. The benzoyl peroxide is a peeling agent that increases the skin turnover. The pores will be less likely to be clogged. In addition, the benzoyl peroxide will also reduce the bacteria that may cause acne.
The 2.5 % benzoyl peroxide creams and gels are more often recommended, as they cause fewer side effects. As a matter of fact, the benzoyl peroxide treatment is started with a lower concentration of benzoyl peroxide, and as the skin becomes tolerant to the compound, the concentration can be increased.
The benzoyl peroxide cure should be applied for at least 4 weeks for results to appear. Some patients will use benzoyl peroxide gels or creams on a regular basis. The creams or gels can be applied twice per day, typically in the morning and before going to bed.
Other Uses of Benzoyl Peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide may be used for various other purposes in addition to acne removal, such as:
- Teeth whitening
- Hair bleaching
- Disinfecting skin or other areas
- Polymerizing of polyester
- Improving the quality of flour
Side Effects of Benzoyl Peroxide
The use of benzoyl peroxide for acne or other purposes may be followed by a number of side effects that may include:
- Dryness of skin
- Skin irritation, eczemas or skin lesions
- Allergic reactions, such as swelling of the treated area
- Burning sensation
- Flaking and peeling of skin
The allergic reactions and dry skin should disappear after 1 week of benzoyl peroxide treatment, as the skin gets used to the treatment. However, if the symptoms persist or if there are serious side effects, a doctor should be consulted. Lower concentrated gels and creams will be recommended if the irritation is severe.
Dangers of Benzoyl Peroxide
When benzoyl peroxide breaks down in benzoic acid and oxygen, these are non toxic compounds. However, benzoyl peroxide can be toxic, as it can be an oxidant and a corrosive. It is essential that the benzoyl peroxide is used with caution.
Benzoyl peroxide can also be an explosive material, but only when used in high concentrations. The creams of gels used for acne contain only up to 10% benzoyl peroxide, which is not a dangerous concentration.