Meet Your One Ingredient Army Against Acne: Benzoyl Peroxide


Meet Your One Ingredient Army Against Acne: Benzoyl Peroxide

By Anupriya Jamuar 


Benzoyl peroxide, or BOP, has been a popular dermatologist recommendation for treating active acne, long before its popular cousin salicylic acid shot to fame. While both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are exfoliators that work on reducing acne, that’s where their similarities end.


While salicylic acid penetrates deep into your skin to dissolve dead skin cells, debris and grime, hence reducing acne. On the other hand, benzoyl peroxide, when applied on the skin, decomposes and releases oxygen (free radicals). This kills acne-causing bacteria, called p.acnes, to reduce breakouts.


Even though both exfoliators are used interchangeably as a common mistake, they both work differently towards reducing acne.


What are the benefits of benzoyl peroxide? 

 In simple terms, benzoyl peroxide kills acne-causing bacteria.


But that is not all it does. Along with being a badass bacteria-destroyer, benzoyl peroxide also has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Meaning, it simultaneously works to reduce that skin inflammation responsible for making your zits red, sore, and bumpy. Plus, its anti-microbial properties help unclog your pores and rid your skin layer of any accumulated debris.


One reason why it is a dermat favourite is because benzoyl peroxide kills the root of acne, Ie, the bacteria, while antibiotics that only reduce signs of it.


How to use benzoyl peroxide? 

You can use it as a topical treatment. Although BOP works on all kinds of zits, it works best for inflammatory acne; those red, hot, and painful kinds. Instead of slathering it all over your face (that can cause dryness and irritation!), use it as a spot treatment.


Use a small amount of the product (the more the better doesn’t work here) and apply it directly on the zit followed by a generous layer of your moisturiser to prevent dryness.


Remember to use it only in your PM (night-time) routine as it can cause sun sensitivity during the day. Wash it the next morning before going out into the sun and do not forget your sunscreen.


Things to avoid while using benzoyl peroxide 

Like every ingredient, there are a few dons of BOP that you should keep in mind to avoid any skin irritation.


  • Make sure your skin is super dry before you apply BOP. Wetness can increase its absorption into your skin and cause irritation.

  • BOP pairs well with other actives like retinol, but make sure to have a break of 2-3 days between each product to minimise irritation.

  • One of the leading concerns with BOP is that it can bleach dark-coloured towels, pillowcases and sheets. You can avoid that by rinsing the product off completely before getting dressed for bed. For extremely sensitive skin, be mindful to use BOP products with its lowest concentration to avoid any irritation. Ideally, a 2.5% concentration is enough.