It is a fact that nobody really knows what causes acne. It is also a fact that acne is going to hit every person in the world at least once. This explains the wide variety of acne products and active ingredients on the market, to an extent. Since the root cause of acne is unknown and human skin so variable between people, there are a lot of ways to reduce the effects of the condition. Despite this, some ingredients do tend to become more prominent than others, and among these is benzoyl peroxide.
As an over-the-counter acne treatment, benzoyl peroxide is both common and known to be effective. It is usually in the form of a gel or cream and is applied topically on areas with acne. The mechanism by which it reduces acne is still uncertain, though many believe it is associated with the compound’s properties as an antiseptic and oxidizing agent. The product can be used for either adult or teen skin, though adults are found to have skin more sensitive to even the smallest commercially-available doses of this product.
Negative reactions to benzoyl peroxide are not unheard of, but their occurrence can often be dependent upon the individual’s unique skin chemistry. On rare occasions, it is possible for people to experience severe skin irritation because of the compound. Swelling, itchiness, and redness often accompany this sensation. It is often taken as a sign that the treatment should either be discontinued or reduced. Dryness of areas where it was applied might also occur. Finally, benzoyl peroxide is a bleaching agent and it has been known to bleach clothing due to accidental contact.
Like most acne treatment options, benzoyl peroxide can be effective in some cases, but not all of them. The skin tends to go back to normal after a prolonged period of use. The amount of time it takes before results manifest can depend on both the skin’s chemistry and the concentration of the compound in the treatment. Higher concentrations work faster, sometimes having results within two weeks, but can produce more pronounced irritation in more sensitive skin. Lower concentrations can take longer, but are less of a risk for side effects.
Mixing and matching
It is generally not considered advisable to mix benzoyl peroxide with other products, such as salicylic acid. In many patients, this can cause damage to the skin much worse than acne. Some experts believe it would be possible to alternate between benzoyl peroxide and other ingredients, taking one during the day and the other at night. However, a dermatologist should be consulted before doing this.
Benzoyl peroxide is a common and effective over-the-counter treatment for acne. It can be harmful to sensitive skin in high concentrations, but the same is true for many other active ingredients.
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