- Benzoyl peroxide is an effective acne-fighting ingredient, providing anti-bacterial benefits.
- Benzoyl peroxide cleansers can be used as part of your daily face wash routine to prevent your pores from becoming clogged with debris and bacteria.
- Those with dry and sensitive skin should avoid using benzoyl peroxide, due to its harsh effects on the skin.
- Salicylic acid is an alternative anti-acne treatment, clearing out excess oil and impurities from your pores.
Benzoyl peroxide (BPO) is a powerful ingredient best known for its anti-acne properties. It is used in a wide range of skin care products, including cleansers and creams to fight bacteria and clear out clogged pores.
It is an effective treatment for those with oily and acne-prone skin, although side effects can occur when BPO is used in high concentrations.
What is Benzoyl Peroxide Cleanser?
BPO is a safe and effective ingredient that has a bactericidal effect on Cutibacterium acnes (C. acnes), the most common acne-causing bacteria. BPO also provides anti-inflammatory and comedolytic effects, by reducing the appearance of inflamed pimples and clearing out build-up from clogged pores.
Unlike topical creams that are left to absorb into your skin, BPO cleansers are designed to be rinsed off with warm water. Studies have shown that despite only being in contact with your skin for a limited time, BPO cleansers are still effective in fighting bacteria and reducing the number of inflamed lesions.
The concentration of BPO in over-the-counter products typically ranges between 2.5% and 10%. Milder formulas are associated with fewer side effects, and there is limited research to suggest that strong concentrations are any more effective in treating acne.
Benzoyl peroxide body wash
Cleansers are typically formulated to be milder on your skin, whereas body washes tend to contain stronger ingredients. As a result, it is best to avoid using body washes on your face.
Benefits of Benzoyl Peroxide Cleansers
BPO cleansers are best suited to those with oily and acne-prone skin types, by providing various benefits, including:
- Fighting acne-causing bacteria
- Clearing out impurities from your pores
- Reducing inflammation
- Controlling oil production
By clearing away excess oil and impurities from your skin and in your pores, BPO cleansers not only help to treat the existing symptoms of acne but also prevent future breakouts.
How to Use a Benzoyl Peroxide Cleanser
Use a BPO cleanser as the first step in your daily regime, ideally in the evening; this will help to clear away impurities that have built up on your skin during the day.
To apply, massage a small amount of product into damp skin. Rinse off the cleanser thoroughly with warm water. It’s important to follow up with a nourishing moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.
BPO can be drying when used too often, therefore it’s safer to limit your use to once per day. If you find that your skin is becoming irritated after daily use, try using it 2-3 times per week.
Who Should Avoid Using Benzoyl Peroxide Cleansers?
BPO is not recommended for those with sensitive or dry skin types, who are more likely to experience irritation. Similarly, if you experience skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea, the effects of BPO may be too harsh for your skin.
If you have a combination skin type, it may be necessary to use a BPO cleanser on the oilier areas of your face, while carefully avoiding any drier sections.
Alternatives to Benzoyl Peroxide Cleansers
There is a wide variety of cleansers on the market that are specially formulated to treat acne-prone and oily skin. While BPO is an effective treatment, there are several alternative ingredients that provide similar results.
Salicylic acid cleanser
Salicylic acid is an alternative acne treatment that works by exfoliating the inside of your pores, dissolving oils and debris. It is oil-soluble, which allows it to penetrate deep into your pores to provide a thorough cleanse.
Studies have found that a formulation of salicylic acid and BPO can be more effective in treating acne than using BPO alone.
Glycolic acid cleanser
Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that works by exfoliating your skin, preventing dead skin cells from becoming clogged in your pores. Being water-soluble, it cannot penetrate as deeply into your pores as salicylic acid. However, it is effective in reducing the appearance of acne scars.
BPO is a safe and effective treatment for acne. Use a BPO cleanser as part of your daily routine to clear out excess oil, impurities and bacteria from your pores. BPO is best suited to those with oily and acne-prone skin, while those with sensitive and dry skin types are likely to find it too harsh.
Popular alternatives to BPO include chemical exfoliants, such as glycolic and salicylic acid.
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