What is Benzoyl Peroxide?
Benzoyl Peroxide is a white powder with a chemical formula of (C6H5CO)O2. The chemical is known by many other names, with the more common ones including:
Benzoyl Peroxide has been used for treating acne for over 50 years. A very large percentage of both over the counter and prescription based topical acne treatments contain the active ingredient benzoyl peroxide. The concentrations vary, but are usually found to be in the range of between two and a half and ten percent. This is a clear indication that Benzoyl Peroxide is widely accepted as an effective treatment for acne vulgaris.
This acceptance is backed up by scientific research which has been used to demonstrate that topical treatments with concentrations of up to 10 percent benzoyl peroxide are effective in the reduction or removal of acne lesions. The normal timescale for this topical acne treatment to work is between three to twelve weeks.
A topical acne treatment is a treatment that is applied directly to the affected area, using a cream, gel or wash, rather than being taken internally or injected.
Increased concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, whilst reducing or curing acne do also however; appear to raise the likelihood of some adverse reactions, such as skin dryness or redness and occasional peeling or flaking of the skin.
There is a some evidence that the frequent use of Benzoyl Peroxide at concentrations of two and a half percent are effective at treating acne but reduce the likelihood of an adverse skin reaction to the chemical. In addition, a number of studies have shown that just using benzoyl peroxide to treat acne may not be the most effective use. Use of a combination treatment containing benzoyl peroxide and other active ingredients may actually increase its effectiveness in reducing or curing acne lesions.
How does Benzoyl Peroxide help to cure acne?
Benzoyl peroxide helps to cure acne by breaking down dead cells on the surface of the skin. This helps to unblock the sebaceous glands. This in turn, allows the sebum that the sebaceous glands secrete, to escape, rather than become trapped in the pores. Benzoyl peroxide also helps to kill the bacteria that feed on the sebum and cause the blockages in the first place, thus it helps with all the areas that can cause or exacerbate acne.
In conclusion, Benzoyl Peroxide is a widely used and effective topical treatment for acne vulgaris. It works as the single active ingredient, but is frequently combined with other active ingredients to provide more effective acne treatments, both over the counter and via prescription.