Benzoyl Peroxide: Uses, Pros, Cons + Best Products

By Katarina V.| Last updated on April 18, 2024
benzoyl peroxide skin care
⏱️ 6 min read

Benzoyl peroxide is highly effective, well-tolerated, and inexpensive. It can help restore the skin’s average PH value and fight acne.

But, is it as effective and does it work the same as salicylic acid?

In this article, we explore the benefits of benzoyl peroxide, how to incorporate it into your skincare routine, and recommend some top products that contain it.

If you are ready to say goodbye to pesky pimples, let’s find you the best benzoyl peroxide product!

What Is Benzoyl Peroxide?

It is an organic compound approved by the WHO to treat acne.

How Does It Work?

Benzoyl peroxide is a powerful antibacterial agent that produces benzoic acid with anti-inflammatory properties.

It breaks down upon contact with the skin and releases oxygen, which prevents bacterial growth and disinfects the treated area. This process is called oxygen hydrolysis.

But, unlike topical antibiotics, your skin won’t develop resistance to peroxide over time.

What Does It Do?

Let’s take a look at how this ingredients affect various skin concerns:

Oil Control

Peroxide exfoliates the skin, unclogging pores and removing excess oil and dead skin cells. This promotes healthier and clearer skin by minimizing the conditions that lead to breakouts.

Prevention of Acne and Acne Scars

This antiseptic ingredient reduces the number of bacteria on the skin, making it an excellent tool in acne prevention.

It also cleanses the pores and minimizes the risk of developing acne scars.

@dermdoctor Benzoyl peroxide #dermdoctor #dermatologist #skincare #acne #benzoylperoxide #beautyhacks ♬ Astronaut In The Ocean – Masked Wolf

Benzoyl Peroxide in Your Skincare Routine

To experience its benefits, you must properly integrate it into your skincare routine.

First, find the correct percentage that suits your skin type and condition.

Different forms of peroxide are available, with varying concentrations ranging from 2.5% to 10%. Using too much of it can irritate, while using too little may not be effective.

Best Benzoyl Peroxide Products

We are constantly testing out new products, such as face washes, moisturizers, toners, serums, and acne spot treatments. So, why not take advantage of our expertise?

Check our recommendations and reviews of the best products with benzoyl peroxide for each product category!

Benzoyl Peroxide Cleanser

If you want to incorporate this treatment into your skincare routine, starting with a face wash is best. However, it’s crucial to add it into your routine correctly:

  • Use it during evening hours, initiate twice a week, and gradually increase the usage.
  • Apply the cleanser to damp skin, massage gently, and leave it on for 1-2 minutes to work its magic.
  • Rinse it off with lukewarm water.
@yurileeeee Replying to @taylorloveshearts How to use @PanOxyl benzoyl peroxide face wash🫶❤️ #acne #panoxyl #facewash #acnefacewash #hormonalacne #benzoylperoxide ♬ girls like me don’t cry (sped up) – thuy

Make sure your benzoyl peroxide face wash suits your skin type. Here is our top recommendation:

PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash

This powerful solution contains 10% benzoyl peroxide, making it the strongest option available over the counter. It eliminates bacteria that cause acne on the entire body, including the face, chest, and back.

PanOxyl is a non-comedogenic solution, meaning it does not clog pores, as it does not contain parabens, phthalates, or fragrances.

Benzoyl Peroxide Moisturizer

When it comes to moisturizer, a cream formula is more suitable for dry skin, but it’s essential to be cautious with the concentration.

Thus, it’s recommended not to apply it immediately to the entire face but instead, use it on one or two pimples and observe the results for a few days.

Here’s our overall best pick:

MDacne – Benzoyl Peroxide Cream 2.5%

MDacne provides a potent solution for acne treatment. The cream contains 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, widely renowned for reducing blemishes and unclogging pores.

The cream is enriched with plant-based, antioxidant-rich ingredients such as Vitamin E, licorice extract, Vitamin C, cucumber extract, and green tea extract.

Benzoyl Peroxide Toner

A toner  can be a great addition to a skincare routine for those with acne-prone or oily skin. Benefits of using such toner include exfoliation and oil control.

Here is our top product pick:

Proactiv 3-Step Acne Treatment

Proactiv Acne Treatment is a powerful 3-step skincare system suitable for all ages and skin types. This kit simplifies your daily routine by including three easy steps: Renewing Cleanser, Revitalizing Toner, and Repairing Treatment.

So, you can achieve a healthy complexion and blemish-free skin while preventing new breakouts.

Best Benzoyl Peroxide Spot Treatment

For best results, a spot treatment should be applied thinly on the affected area, not just the pimple itself.
@skinwithmt There are various forms of benzoyl peroxide(BP) but I’ve found that the one which works best for me and comes with no irritation is the cream. I only use BP as a form of spot treatment and by morning the acne would have flattened or disappeared 🤭. You can use one from any brand. It all works great. IB: @melody.okoli_ #benzoylperoxideforacne #skincareghana🇬🇭 #skincaretipsnigeria #blacksoapcleanser #ghanatiktokers🇬🇭🇬🇭🇬🇭 #acnesolutionsoap #benzoylperoxidegel ♬ Cmon Mann Thats Too Easy – Isaiah✦

Effaclar Duo Acne Spot Treatment

The Effaclar Duo Acne Spot Treatment is an effective solution designed to target acne blemishes.

In addition to the main ingredient, this product contains niacinamide and LHA, which work together to control acne effectively.

This fast-acting spot treatment is also gentle on the skin. Therefore, if you use it properly, you don’t have to worry about side effects.

Benzoyl Peroxide Face Serum

Face serum is a form the skin absorbs more efficiently and is better for oily skin. Integrate a 2.5-5% Benzoyl Peroxide into your evening routine for acne treatment. Then, follow the steps:

  • Wash your face.
  • Apply the serum to the affected areas.
  • Follow with a non-comedogenic moisturizer.

DRMTLGY Acne Serum

This product contains 5% benzoyl peroxide and 5% glycolic acid, which allows it to penetrate the skin deeply and effectively prevent and eliminate breakouts.

Glycolic acid helps reduce acne scarring by promoting cellular turnover. It is suitable for all skin types, including dry, oily, combination, and regular. Additionally, this product is paraben-free, sulfate-free, and cruelty-free.

Benzoyl Peroxide vs. Salicylic Acid

These are the two most common acne treatments that are equally effective at clearing breakouts, but they do so in different ways:

  • Benzoyl peroxide targets inflamed acne, removes whiteheads and acne-causing bacteria
  • Salicylic acid helps smooth rough, bumpy breakouts without inflammation and helps shed dead skin cells

So, which is the better option for your specific acne type? Take a look at our table below and find out!

Specific AcneBenzoyl PeroxideSalicylic Acid
Back acneYESYES
Clogged pores YES
Hormonal acne YES
Red, inflamed acneYES 
Rough, bumpy acne YES
Spot treatmentYES 

Side Effects of Benzoyl Peroxide

Due to its drying properties, some individuals with susceptible skin may experience irritation. This can result in symptoms such as:

  • Feeling of tightness
  • Flaking
  • Discoloration

To avoid potential risks, do a patch or spot test on an isolated part of the skin and monitor the reaction.

Always start with a lower concentration, try to apply it only to problem areas, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Remember to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF30 or higher to protect your skin from harmful UV rays!


Remember to store your benzoyl peroxide products in a cool, dry spot to keep them safe. Recent studies have hinted that exposing them to high temperatures could cause potential health risks.

For any important updates, keep an eye on the FDA’s website.

What If Benzoyl Peroxide Isn’t Your Perfect Match?

If, for some reason, you’re afraid to try it or you’ve had a bad experience, don’t worry. There are still alternatives for treating pimples, acne scars, and excess sebum.

Salicylic acid is an effective alternative that can help eliminate dead skin cells, unclog pores, and reduce breakouts with minimal redness.

You can also consider using AHAs like glycolic acid, retinol, niacinamide, and other acne-fighting ingredients. However, it’s crucial to keep your skin type in mind and seek personalized advice from a dermatologist.

Cover image source: Freepik



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