Having to deal with acne for a long time can get frustrating. Because of this, there are a lot of manufacturers of beauty products which provide over the counter solutions for acne that contain benzoyl peroxide as the main active ingredient. But what does benzoyl peroxide do and is it good for your skin?
Understanding Benzoyl Peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide is the most common chemical ingredient added to facial care products which address acne concerns. It is a compound which belongs to the peroxide family that has two benzoyl groups which is connected by a peroxide link.
When it comes to beauty products, benzoyl peroxide is added to facial washes and creams to address acne. It comes in different concentrations or strengths ranging from 2.5% to 10% of the solution. Depending on the sensitivity of a person’s skin as well as the severity of the acne condition, the strength of benzoyl peroxide to be used will also vary.
What Does Benzoyl Peroxide Do?
As an acne treatment option, benzoyl peroxide has a peeling and drying effect on the skin. It increases the natural rate of skin turnover which promotes having a fresh layer of skin which is clear of acne. When used in facial washes, benzoyl peroxide dries up pimples gradually and this method is particularly effective for those who have oily skin.
It has the ability to reduce the overall bacterial count of the P. acnes bacteria which is what causes your acne breakouts. Other than that, it also helps clear the pores which reduces blockage that might irritate the skin and cause acne.
The strengths usually vary from 2.5%, 5%, and 10% depending on the product being used. Usually, benzoyl peroxide can be found in facial washes, creams, or gels. According to dermatologists, the 5% and 10% strengths can be more effective and results can be seen faster but for some people, these concentrations can be a little too much and may cause over drying of the skin or irritation and redness. Initially, the dryness and irritation even from the 2.5% strength products may last for about a week. After that time, the skin will develop a tolerance for it and the positive effects may be noticed.
Tips for Choosing and Using Products with Benzoyl Peroxide
If you have a particularly sensitive skin, you ought to use the weakest concentration of benzoyl peroxide. If you notice drying, make sure to balance it out with a light layer of moisturizer. You can also use the product only on problem areas as a spot treatment if you are using a cream or gel to avoid excess drying of your facial skin.
For those who have severe acne and if you feel like you would need stronger concentrations after having tried the mildest one, it would be better to consult a dermatologist first before picking a product to see which strength would better match your skin. Even better would be if you can get a product that your dermatologist would recommend specifically for your skin and acne condition!