Some people have concerns about the use of benzoyl peroxide to control acne. The concern revolves around the fact that it generates free radicals when it kills bacteria inside the pore. What most people don’t know, is the very act of cardiovascular exercise (breathing heavily) also creates free radicals in the body. Are you going to stop exercising? No, because it’s all about balance – a cost/benefit ratio. The benefit of using benzoyl peroxid is that it is one of the best ingredients to not only kill bacteria; but more importantly, it peels the inside of the pore. That peeling kills the microcomedone – the beginning of all acne lesions.
In the over 25 years I have been treating acne, I have never seen benzoyl peroxide “damage” the skin as the naysayers warn you about. What people misdiagnose as “damage” is most likely the temporary dehydration of the skin that one can get when they’ve used too much too soon. We have a very specific timed schedule with benzoyl peroxide to allow for the skin to adapt to its use. I used it for years on my own skin and see no damage whatsoever. What I see is someone’s skin clearing up and looking extremely healthy and glowing. Also, the sooner one stops the acne breakouts, the more likely one will not scar from acne lesions.
Here is the latest FDA ruling on benzoyl peroxide deeming it as safe:
Classification of Benzoyl Peroxide as Safe and Effective and Revision of Labeling to Drug Facts Format; Topical Acne Drug Products for Over-The-Counter Human Use; Final Rule
75 FR 9767
9767 -9777 (11 pages)
Docket Nos. FDA-1981-N-0114 and FDA-1992-N-0049
We, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), are issuing this final rule to include benzoyl peroxide as a generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE) active ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) topical acne drug products. In addition, this final rule includes new warnings and directions required for OTC acne drug products containing benzoyl peroxide. We are also revising labeling for OTC topical acne drug products containing resorcinol, resorcinol monoacetate, salicylic acid and/or sulfur to meet OTC drug labeling content and format requirements in a certain FDA regulation. This final rule is part of our ongoing review of OTC drug products and represents our conclusions on benzoyl peroxide in OTC acne drug products.