Benzoyl peroxide

Topical benzoyl peroxide works directly by killing the skin bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), which is directly related to the formation of acne. Due to the mechanism of action, bacteria cannot develop antibiotic resistance to benzoyl peroxide.

Benzoyl Peroxide is available over-the-counter, which means you don’t need a prescription to purchase it and in a number of concentrations from 2.5% to 10%. We usually recommend starting with a lower concentration product since higher concentrations can be very drying. Also, studies show that products with benzoyl peroxide concentrations above 2.5% are not necessarily more effective.

Side effects

  • Drying of skin
  • Skin irritation
  • Bleaching of clothing, hair, towels, and sheets

Examples of OTC products containing benzoyl peroxide (This list is not comprehensive.)

  • PanOxyl
  • Oxy 10
  • Clean and Clear Advantage 3-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser
  • Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser
  • Paula’s Choice Clear Extra Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment