If you carefully look at the product labels, most over the counter acne treatments use benzoyl peroxide as its primary ingredient for acne. Benzoyl peroxide is a compound with bactericidal effects but can also cause skin dryness and flaking. Others say that benzoyl peroxide really works while some claims that it made their acne worse. So is benzoyl peroxide really effective in treating acne? Let’s take a closer look.
Benzoyl peroxide is commonly used to treat acne because of its bactericidal effects. This means that it does not directly kills the bacteria but causes the bacteria to die with the use of oxygen. The acne causing bacteria are considered as anaerobic. This means that they cannot survive in the presence of oxygen. Oxygen suffocates the bacteria causing it to die. When benzoyl peroxide touches the skin, it creates oxygen thereby killing the acne causing bacteria.
Everything sounds great but you need to understand that benzoyl peroxide also have its downsides. As benzoyl peroxide introduces oxygen to your skin, it also makes your skin dry and irritated. Too much oxygen can also cause serious effects on your skin. When your skin is dry it automatically signals your brain to order your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. The excess oil produced aggravates your existing condition and also causes more acne blemishes to pop out. Too much oxygen can also kill your healthy skin cells, thereby increasing the rate of cell turnover.
Too much benzoyl peroxide is not good for you. The recommended benzoyl peroxide level is 2.5%. If you go over that, you increase the risk of having dry skin and more acne. Always check your acne treatments. If the benzoyl peroxide content is too high, it would be best not to use the treatment of if not avoided, use the treatment sparingly. If your acne product have the right levels of benzoyl peroxide, it is advised that you use the treatment as directed and should not go over the prescribed dose.
To minimize the side effects of benzoyl peroxide, always moisturize your skin. It is important that your skin stays moist and supple. You can do this by using a reliable water-based moisturizer and drinking lots of water. It is also recommended that you stay away from direct heat of the sun. Long sun exposure cannot only damage your skin but can also cause you to breakout even more.