Tips For Using Benzoyl Peroxide
Once you get started with benzoyl peroxide, the biggest tip to remember: be consistent. Consistency is your best friend when treating acne. Skipping days will set your treatment back. You’ll see the fastest improvement with regular, consistent use.
Another biggieâkeep benzoyl peroxide away from your towels and pillowcases. Benzoyl peroxide will stain anything it comes in contact with. White linens and wearing old shirts to bed will help prevent or minimize benzoyl peroxide stains .
The Best Ways To Treat And Prevent Hormonal Acne
There are several different treatment options that can help you get rid of hormonal acne, but you should start by talking to a dermatologist about how best to tackle your breakouts, especially if you’re experiencing cystic, inflammatory acne. Your derm can help come up with a plan that works specifically for your needs. Note that while over-the-counter acne products can be especially effective if you’re only dealing with mild breakouts, when it comes to cystic acne , it’s likely you’ll need to incorporate prescription-strength acne products and oral medications into your routine, in addition to certain lifestyle changes. But whatever course you take, note that consistency and patience is key.
Here are some additional potential solutions your dermatologist may discuss with you:
The Story Of How Benzoyl Peroxide Got A Bad Reputation
Benzoyl peroxide is a chemical compound that oxidizes on the skin, releasing oxygen to destroy pore-clogging bacteria. It is anti-inflammatory, comedolytic, and anti-bacterial meaning it decreases skin inflammation, opens the pores, exfoliates the surface layer of skin, and removes excess sebum. These properties make it a powerful acne-reducing agent.
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See If A Vitamin Or Supplement Might Help
If you’re not comfortable trying a prescription medication, there are some vitamins and supplements that could potentially help treat hormonal acne. First up: Nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3 that may help acne due to its anti-inflammatory effects. In studies, both topical and oral vitamin B3 supplements have been shown to improve acne, according to Dr. Garshick. It’s also possible that zinc can help hormonal acne. Zinc supplements have been shown to reduce breakouts, says Dr. Zeichner, though some studies show that treating acne topically with zinc might be the more effective route.
All that said, it’s important to always check with your doctor first before taking any new supplements, especially since taking too much of any supplement has the potential to be harmful. It is also best to only start one new supplement at a time to be able to identify what is helping or if any side effects occur, says Dr. Garshick.
Take A Look At Your Food
I knowthis is nobodys favorite topic. But if your meals currently consist of pizza and cookies and shredded cheddar cheese straight from the bag, all washed down with multiple glasses of wine, you should know youre not exactly helping your hormonal acne situation. The sugar found in sweets can actually spike acne-causing hormones, Dr. Zeichner has said. Think: a spike in insulin, which can cause a hormonal cascade that leads to inflammation and breakouts.
Same thing goes for dairy: Dairy has been shown to have an effect on testosterone levels, according to studies, which can trigger excess oil production that leads to hormonal acne. If you wanna see if your favorite foods are making hormonal acne worse, cut out all dairy and significantly reduce your alcohol, sugar, and refined carbohydrate intake for two full weeks to see if your skin seems at all calmer.
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Over Scrubbing Or Exfoliating
Mir said teenage skin already sluffs dead skin cells on its own, so he discourages the use of apricot scrubs or scrubs containing beads, because they can be abrasive and irritating. Gohara also said scrubbing is a big no-no. Sometimes, teens think acne is from dirt and they start to scrub it, but scrubbing is bad, she said. Gohara recommended teens use a gentle, alcohol-free exfoliant once a week, in the form of glycolic pads.
Heres a product Gohara recommends:
Can Benzoyl Peroxide Really Make Acne Worse
Benzoyl peroxide is not expected to make your acne worse, but it may cause a temporary reaction that resembles acne.
There are different forms of acne and some of them react differently to different kinds of treatments.
Benzoyl Peroxide is often hailed as one of the most versatile acne treatments available. It unclogs pores, manages oil production, and lifts dead skin cells off the surface of the skin.
However, some people may experience adverse reactions which may resemble an acne flare-up.
Now one of the most important things you need to do when using Benzoyl Peroxide is to moisturize correctly, you can click here to read how and what I recommend using.
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Best Cleanser: Glytone Acne Bpo Clearing Cleanser
Courtesy of Dermstore
Pricier than other options
Using a face wash with benzoyl peroxide daily is an easy way to try to prevent future pimples from popping up and keep skin clear. Use it just once daily, alternating with a more mild cleanser, to minimize the likelihood of dryness.
Recite the alphabet as you apply it to ensure the active ingredient has enough contact time with your skin to do its thing.
Is It Safe To Use Both At The Same Time
Your treatment plan could very well include both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide at the same time. However, applying both products on the same area of skin even at different times of day can increase your risk for excessive drying, redness, and peeling.
A safer approach is to use both ingredients for different types of acne. For example, salicylic acid may be a good all-over method to treat and prevent breakouts, while benzoyl peroxide may be applied as a spot treatment only.
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Treating Acne At B Clinic
Hormonal acne can be challenging to manage. You can try over-the-counter topical treatments, but you should seek professional advice if your acne doesnt respond well and start to clear.
Our b clinic skin experts can advise you on the best approach and treatments for your specific skin type and acne severity. Book a free consultation today to receive a complementary treatment plan and start your journey to acne-free skin.
How We Researched & Tested
To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key featureslike ingredients, shade range, or designin addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. Our team also incorporated their own personal experiences testing products in their own lives. We then used these insights from our research and testing to assign a star rating from one to five to certain products on the list.
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Best Body Wash: Panoxyl Acne Foaming Wash
Courtesy of Walmart
Can be used on face and body
Rabach and Carqueville both recommend this cleanser for treating body acne on areas such as your back, chest, and booty . Credit the foaming action, which makes it easy to apply all over these larger surfaces. It contains 10% BPO, which might be a bit too much on the face for some people, but is usually well-tolerated on the body, says Carqueville.
Pricier than other options
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in the human body. It acts as a cushioning and lubrication agent for our joints, nerves, hair, skin, and eyes. When used in skincare, it acts as a moisture binder, which means that it will attach itself to the water in the cells giving them a plumping effect.
If your complexion skews towards sensitivity, its important to proceed with caution when it comes to any kind of potent skincare ingredient, BPO included. Thats why we appreciate this formula, specially formulated to be ultra-gentle on skin. It has that acne-fighting benzoyl peroxide, yes, but it also contains hydrating hyaluronic acid, soothing niacinamide, and three different ceramides meant to keep the skin barrier healthy and intact It goes on creamy but transforms into a foam, you still get that satisfying lather and clean feel thats lacking with many other cleansers geared towards sensitive skin.
How Should Benzoyl Peroxide Be Used
In terms adding benzoyl peroxide into an effective acne skincare routine, it comes in the form of OTC gels, spot treatments or rinse-off cleansers. Dr. Rodney prefers cleansers because they tend to be less drying since they stay on your skin for a smaller amount of time and the motion of rinsing them off helps remove debris. Whats really important is that you wet your skin first with warm water, massage in the benzoyl peroxide cleanser for 20 seconds and then rinse it off, she says. When you leave it on for the 20 seconds, thats really giving it time to take effect.
The other thing to keep in mind when selecting a benzoyl peroxide product is that a higher concentration of the ingredient is not necessarily better. In fact, research showsthat 2.5%, 5% and 10% formulations are all similarly effective, but the higher percentages are more likely to cause dry or irritated skin. Both Dr. Rodney and Dr. Jaber agree its best to start with a lower formulation and slowly work your way up if it doesnt seem to help.
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What If Benzoyl Peroxide Irritates My Skin
Does it though? That is like someone telling their personal trainer squats irritate my body. Sure, squats can hurt your body if you do them incorrectly or you do too many too fast. But they probably wouldnt hurt if you had a personal trainer who made sure your muscles were properly stretched out and you were doing them with proper form and the number of squats that are appropriate for your fitness level. Well, your skin is just like a muscle and how well your skin tolerates a product or an ingredient depends less on the product itself than it does on the condition of your skin, how slowly you integrate it, and whether or not your skin is healthy enough to tolerate it. And your skins health is largely dependent on the other skincare products you are using and whether or not they are nourishing, soothing, and hydrating your skin so that your skin can better tolerate active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide.
Try A Prescription Oral Medication
If OTC treatments or prescription topicals aren’t doing the trick, ask your dermatologist about oral medications. Especially if you have deeper, painful cystic acne, topicals may need to be supplemented by oral medication. One option that Dr. Zeichner and Dr. Garshick recommend is spironolactone, an oral blood pressure medication that helps lower oil productionand secretion. Spironolactone can take up to three months to show effects, but many hormonal acne sufferers swear by it.
There are also several oral contraceptives that are also FDA-approved to treat hormonal acne and are sometimes prescribed in conjunction with spironolactone. They work by regulating your hormones and decreasing testosterone, which can reduce hormone-fueled breakouts. Yaz, Beyaz, Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Estrostep are the four pills that are FDA-approved to treat acne, but most of the combination oral contraceptive pills are useful, says Dr. Zeichner. You can talk to your dermatologist or gynecologist about getting a prescription.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What causes cystic acne?
- What is the best cystic acne treatment?
- What are the treatment side effects?
- How can I lower my chances of getting acne cysts?
- How can I prevent scarring or other complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Its tempting to want to touch or pick at painful, swollen acne cysts. But cystic acne is more likely than other zits to scar or develop infections. A dermatologist can offer suggestions to prevent cystic acne. This doctor can also treat painful acne cysts, lowering the chances of scarring. Antibiotics and topical creams are effective cystic acne treatments.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/25/2021.
Should I Squeeze Or Pop My Pimples
Popping pimples can be very tempting and satisfying. However, its best if you dont squeeze or pop your pimples. Squeezing pimples can cause several problems, including:
- Introducing bacteria into the pimple opening. Bacteria can cause an infection.
- Irritating your skin. Your skin is sensitive, and your nails are much stronger than your skin. When you use your nails to apply a lot of pressure to your skin to pop a pimple, you can cause inflammation. Pimple-popping tools can also damage your skin. Only a healthcare provider, medical aesthetician or dermatologist should use these tools.
- Scarring your skin. You can draw blood and seriously damage your skin if you apply too much pressure. If pimples are deep in your skin, you may not even extract them.
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Benzoyl Peroxide Vs Salicylic Acid For Acne
While benzoyl peroxide is a staple for treating inflammatory acne, its worth considering salicylic acid if you also have noninflammatory acne .
Both help clean pores, but salicylic acids primary role is to get rid of dead skin cells. Such exfoliating effects may help treat noninflammatory lesions.
It also wont stain your hair or clothing like benzoyl peroxide can. But it can still lead to dry, red, and peeling skin, especially when you first start using a product containing salicylic acid.
As a rule of thumb, if you have inflammatory acne along with oily, less sensitive skin, benzoyl peroxide may be the better choice.
What Cant I Eat Or Drink If I Have Pimples
Healthcare providers and researchers once believed that certain foods might contribute to the development of pimples, especially skim milk, whey protein and diets high in sugar . However, that may not be true. The research between diet and pimples isnt clear.
But certain vitamins promote healthy skin, which may help prevent pimples. These include:
- Vitamin A: Good sources of vitamin A include leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, tomatoes, fruits, fish and liver.
- Vitamin D: Good sources of vitamin D include fatty fish and vitamin-fortified foods, including dairy and nondairy milks, breakfast cereals and orange juice.
- Vitamin E: Good sources of vitamin E include nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables and vegetable oils.
Combining Clindamycin With Differin For Acne
Sometimes Differin is prescribed or suggested along with the use of topical clindamycin, an antibiotic, because it can increase the efficacy of the clindamycin. Studies show that applying Differin gel 5 minutes before applying topical clindamycin gel can make the clindamycin more effective and kill more p. acnes bacteria. Unfortunately, this isnt as exciting as it may sound.
Antibiotics used to be one of the most popular acne treatments, especially for cystic acne. They are still prescribed today, but research shows that they are less effective than they used to be, and they may not have been overly useful to begin with. Antibiotics can only be taken for a short amount of time, around 3 months at the most. Then they have to be discontinued, so even if they do help improve acne, they are a temporary solution.
The reason antibiotics cant be used indefinitely is due to something called antibiotic resistance. This is when a bacterium, through a random mutation, is not affected by the antibiotic. When it reproduces, its offspring will also not be affected, and because p. acnes reproduce every 20 minutes or so, this number of resistant bacteria can grow very quickly. Bacteria can also spread their resistance mutation by simply coming into physical contact with another bacterium, so once one bacterium becomes resistant to an antibiotic, the whole colony can quickly follow suit.
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How Do You Get Rid Of A Pimple
Nonprescription medications can get rid of milder cases of pimples. Some medications include:
- Azelaic acid: This is a natural acid found in various grains such as barley, wheat and rye. It kills microorganisms on your skin and reduces swelling.
- Benzoyl peroxide: This is available as an over-the-counter product . Lower concentrations and wash formulations are less irritating to your skin. Irritation is a common side effect.
- Retinoids : Retinoids, such as Retin-A®, Tazorac® and Differin® help prevent clogged pores. You may notice a change in skin color or peeling. Using retinoids every other day or using them at the same time as a moisturizer can reduce these side effects.
- Salicylic acid: This is available over-the-counter for pimples as a cleanser or lotion. It helps dissolve dead skin cells to prevent your hair follicles from clogging.
If your pimples dont go away with nonprescription medications, your healthcare provider may recommend prescription medications, including antibiotics and oral hormone replacement.
Other therapies may include:
Talk to your healthcare provider before trying these they may be irritating and make acne worse.
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Should I Use Benzoyl Peroxide Or Salicylic Acid First
Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are both highly powerful ingredient which can deliver results when combating problematic skin. It really doesn’t matter which ingredient you decide to use first, they both provide impressive benefits and help you keep your skin clear and combat any breakouts with ease.